Laura Stevenson and The Cans
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Laura Stevenson and The Cans

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Laura Stevenson"

Quirky local folkie Laura Stevenson reminds us of how Joanna Newsom sounded before she went utterly baroque. - Time Out New York


I doubt there are many other songwriters in NYC as abundantly skilled as Laura Stevenson (pictured). On top of a distinctive, powerful voice and A-game songwriting, Stevenson has some of the best lyrics in town, writing about love and life and death with profound vision. If you were in attendance for her solo performance of Nervous Rex and weren’t moved, I feel sorry for you. But the most exciting aspect of Stevenson’s performance at Resonance was her band. This is not to say that the band stole the show (skilled as they were), but that this accompaniment of tastefully arranged bass, percussion, trombone, trumpet, saxophone and electric mandolin (with Stevenson on steel-string) made the already remarkable songs even better. A backing band can often diminish the appeal of a singer-songwriters intimate, minimalist performance, but Stevenson’s outfit took her craft to an even more promising level.

"Laura Stevenson: A Record"

The newest album from Quote Unquote Records is Laura Stevenson - A Record. The songs are totally anchored by Laura's smooth voice, layered over itself in smart harmonies. Her voice has a Regina Spektor-ish quality, but these indie pop songs don't hold the same amount of blatant hipsterism. I could totally see a punk band writing these songs. Get it. It's free.

"Laura Stevenson: A Record"

Searching for that special song to complete your thoughts? Looking for that perfect album to keep you warm and cozy on a cold winter night? Your search is over, and it will cost you less than you think. Meet Laura Stevenson and the Cans' "A Record." "Baby Bones" opens this lush album with gorgeous harmonies reminiscent of local fave, Eisley, that cascade into a big band-ish chorus complete with burgeoning trumpets. Look for "Landslide Song/The Dig" to be the backing track in a commercial for the newest Apple product or hipster clothing store. With an extremely infectious melody and a bubbly hiccuping voice, this record standout is not to be missed. In "A Shine To It," Stevenson begins her first-person lament with "I sold my blood to a hospital, but it wasn't very much blood. So they didn't give me much money." She continues in this heart-laid-open prose that reads like a gut-wrenching letter to that one love that you gave it all to (blood and body) and received nothing in return. An echoing organ combines and collides with distorted, muffled vocals for a sweetly cacophonous effect that defines "Source and the Sound." This interesting combination explodes into a seriously rocking good time reminiscent of early Rilo Kiley. Best of all, this album can be acquired for free if you'd like. Donations are accepted but aren't required. So, take advantage of Stevenson's generosity, but pay it forward and tell someone else about this talented up-and-comer. You're welcome.
- Subservient Experiment

"Laura Stevenson: A Record"

I only recently found out about Laura Stevenson, but I'm glad I did. Her first record just came out via "the first ever donation based record label," Quote Unquote Records. The record, titled A Record, came out on October 29th to almost no fanfare. There was a banner on the Quote Unquote Records homepage (there still is, actually) and Stevenson's myspace mentioned it, but that was it as far as promotion, which is a shame because the record is wonderful.
The lead track, "Baby Bones," sounds like something that Alela Diane would write (see previous post for more on Diane), but with a clearer voice. When the trumpets and percussion kick in, however, I can't help but be reminded of a female-fronted Neutral Milk Hotel. That influence is especially strong in the track "Landslide Song/The Dig." Beginning with a quick count off, the song is a low-fi burst that wouldn’t sound out of place on NMH's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
Stevenson's strength, though, is the softer song. "The Pretty One," "Nervous Rex" and "A Shine to It" are by far the strongest songs on the record, and "A Shine to It" is easily one of the best songs I've heard all year. Stevenson's voice and guitar work complement the words and the melody perfectly. The harmonies on all three of the songs listed above stand out as being a strong aspect of Stevenson's recorded sound. She's clearly a talented songwriter with fantastic instincts.
My only complaint is that there are only eight tracks on the record, leading me to believe that An EP would be a better title than A Record. Regardless, this is a fantastic set of songs and I encourage you to check them out. I also encourage you to donate to the label so more artists like Stevenson can release music with them.

- Mockingbird Music

"Laura Stevenson"

Baby Bones sets out to make you cut, EVERYTHING. Landslide/The Dig is my favorite track, upbeat and different is always good. A Shine To It is a very odd little social commentary in a sweet song.
The whole record is a moderate downer.
“Laura mixes textures, arrangements and harmonies to create a warm and inviting mini-album that will make you smile or crush your soul depending on your current level of sadness. Get after it.�-Quote Unquote Records
This is a rather accurate description, this album can make your cry, or make you feel much better. The truth is it’s an elegant album. It has the melody to keep you listening and the lyrics to keep you thinking.

"Laura Stevenson and The Cans"

I got into this record basically by stumbling by the Quote Unquote records website while looking for something else to write about. This label deserves a blog post themselves, most artists release their stuff completely free to download through the label - a donation is recommended when you download as the label purely survives on the funds coming in from those funds alone, but as you can see, they are lovingly all about making the music available for the masses. The artist which grabbed my attention the most in their roster was Laura Stevenson And The Cans (a lot of their other talent deserve a few posts as well, which I hope to do later on in weeks to come). This was because someone I knew in NYC mentioned their live show as amazing once in an online chat I was having
Laura Stevenson hails from Brooklyn and has played her heart out at many a show in The Big Apple's digs. This erm, record (well - it really is a mini LP) is a little nut-housey but a little unknown cracker of a release. Laura took this listener through some beautiful vocal melodies and beautiful arrangements. A Record emulates a female voiced Neutral Milk Hotel - with a dash of Ramones in there as well. Nice simple folk qualities are on here with "Baby Bones" but you're in for a surprise with many of the other tracks.
Laura doesn't shy away from the distortion pedal, and this is where I think she shines. "Source And The Sound" swirls through organs before the crunchy distortion comes 2 minutes in. The band trawl through a lo-fi punk sound too, which gets a run through in "The Landslide Song / The Dig". Some could normally argue that a release like this would be little disjointed with it's knack for jumping to various genres, but Laura's beautiful voice and complementary unique instrumentation fully makes up for it in addition to the whole outfit displaying great musical versatility.
- nickjamvendetta

"Laura Stevenson- Laura Stevenson: A Record"

Call me a sap if you must, but I’ve become a complete sucker for a woman who can sing. Quality lyrical content helps a ton, too, but as long as the voice delivering said lyrical content is at least somewhat angelic in nature, well, she could be reciting verses from the Necronomicon for all I care. Actually, that might be kind of cool.

Right now, Laura Stevenson is my songstress of choice and her new release, Laura Stevenson: A Record is a quick, breezy, blissful eight track mini-album that combines extremely impressive vocal stylings and diverse musical arrangements to create one of the better records I’ve heard this year.

More after the jump.

It’s actually kind of crazy how ambitious A Record is, in that it’s not an album that can be pigenonholed based on only a couple of songs. There are quiet, minimal numbers like “The Pretty One” and “Nervous Rex” the former seeing Stevenson employing a combination of banjo, mandolin, violin and echoy vocals that sounds worlds better than its description, and the latter a slightly more somber track built around surprisingly intricate finger picking and subtle vocal harmonies. Stevenson follows a similar path in “A Shine To It” but ditches the acoustic instruments in favor of an electric guitar that’s strummed just lightly enough to get the point across.

The rock is brought on the frantic “Landslide Song/The Dig”, with loud, jagged guitars and horns serving as the backdrop for Stevenson’s soothing vocals. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, and one that doesn’t hinder the song as much as one might think. “Source and the Sound” features a heavy dose of distorted keys and guitars, but the vocals here are muffled and difficult to decipher — which surely was the intention, but the choice in production makes it a slight misstep, but nothing you should be inclined to skip.

A Record closes in the most penultimate of fashions with “Beets Untitled”, a vast, five minute opus that is an amalgamation of sounds heard in the subsequent seven tracks. Like two sides of a pendulum, the piano utilized in the song adds quite a bit of weight while the horns add a sense of whimsy that lighten things up, keeping the song from sounding too serious, while Stevenson howls over everything with a vocal range and command that’s pretty mindblowing. And the lyrics would undoubtedly be far less interesting if anyone other than Stevenson herself knew what she was really singing about: ‘Beets bleed and tables have legs/I boiled up a feast and the table it ran away a bloody mess/I need to stop singing in code/to start ringing true only because true rings only’ Please, don’t ever stop singing in code.

As previously mentioned, A Record is only eight tracks which decreases filler and increases replay value. Best of all, Quote Unquote Records released it which means you can choose how much you want to pay for it. Hell you don’t even have to pay for it if you’re a cheap bastard. If you enjoy unpretentious, indie-tinged pop music, Laura Stevenson: A Record would fit in with your collection quite nicely. And even if you’re not, there’s simply no reason to not check out this album.

(2009, Quote Unquote) -


Laura Stevenson: A Record
released in the Fall of 2008



From crippling depression to family fun! Laura Stevenson and The Cans sure have come a long way.