Layne L'Heureux and Friends
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Layne L'Heureux and Friends

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Dream Pop

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"VIDEO DEBUT: LAYNE L’HEUREUX’S “FUNERAL OF A FORMER SELF”"

“Most of the record deals with recreational drug use and cloning. And then I guess personal turmoil. Those are probably the three elements.”

Layne L’Heureux is serious. You can hear it. His latest album, United Hotcake Preferred, is a slow, tumbling drift through the cold dark of space. Fitting for a record named after a chapter in Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan.

“The idea if space travel and time travel… for some reason it’s always been the most important thing to me. I love it so much and I really don’t know why. … The song “Solaris” is about this person who wakes up on a satellite, and he goes to the edge and looks out into space. But he’s so neurotic and so jaded that all he can say is ‘space isn’t interesting, but at least it was a free ride.’ And I think that’s just really funny. It’s kind of where I was at, too.”

It does feel like there’s another universe contained in L’Heureux’s mind. Talking to him, I got the sense that there’s a whole space in his head that I’ll never gain entry to, a room where he’s always quietly contemplating his music. Tyler Butler once wrote that Layne has a “monk-like dedication to his craft.” L’Heureux dismisses this as “a bit hefty,” but it’s clear that music is the centre of his existence.

“I put so much focus on songwriting that it impacts my daily life. I find that my memory is totally faulty. People will tell me a story and say ‘remember that time you did this or we were here and you were with us’ and it’s just gone. And I think about it and … I can remember making records and I can remember what I was like when I was making records, but then in between each period of time is [a blur].

“My self-value is stamped with my discography. But also, retrospectively, the discography that I have made, you can see a progression of craftsmanship happening and development happening. It used to be a lot more spiritual for me. Now it’s just something that I do and have to do. If I don’t do it I kind of freak out. … It’s probably one of the few comforting things that I keep in my life consistently.”

So consistently that L’Heureux has lost count of how many albums he’s made (“Fifteen? Maybe just 6 or 7 or 8 records. At least one record a year”). Despite the turn-out, he explains that it’s been a long process to overcome his shyness and to share his music. He still struggles with it. As someone who wrestles with occasionally debilitating shyness, I had to smile at the absurdity of our scene: two admittedly shy strangers eagerly discussing how shy we are.

Layne’s persistence is heartening for the timid among us, as is the fact that his shyness comes with conscientiousness and kindness that extend to his audience.

“Let’s say there’s somebody performing in this room, playing over here. Let’s say they’re playing really melancholic music, everybody’s going to be incredibly affected by that. If you’re going to play something happy, a lot of people can kind of deflect that, if they want. It’s easy to deflect that emotion, but it’s hard to deflect the emotion of melancholy.

“I don’t really deserve to put people in that place. Just because I’m feeling this way, doesn’t mean that I should project that on people if they listen to it. Maybe I should find a better way, so maybe take the idea but put it in a format that’s not going to be as heartbreaking or slow.”

United Hotcake Preferred may not be heartbreaking, but it’s certainly not poppy gloss. It opens by asking “why don’t you believe in anything?” It closes by repeating “everything will be alright in the end” until you begin to believe it. Like L’Heureux in “Funeral of a Former Self,” his album is both masked and startlingly candid. It is bizarre and celestial. If you let it, United Hotcake Preferred may make you come unstuck in time.
- Low Level Hum


"Layne L'Heureux - New"

Layne L’Heureux, OLD UGLY old gun of the Labrador City Records tradition, finally drops his first record for OU, the forward-titled New LP. We have here a collection of aptly titled recordings that reveal a large directional shift from Layne’s Nick Drake-esque first three records at Labrador City to a new and gangled gnarly-folk genre conception that will surely thrive under the creative sunlight that Layne embodies. And with the newfound electric illumination and Layne’s signature grungy bellow, he’s got the chops to move this weird niche genre forward into significant prominence. Check out the New LP below and be sure to look out for “Comfort”, a slow tripped-out jam complete with weird effervescent filters on psychodelic vocals and biglilting acoustic strumsations. - Argue Job


"Layne L’Heureux – United Hotcake Preferred"

Layne L’Heureux, perhaps the most prolific songwriter I know, returns with one of his finest albums to date: United Hotcake Preferred. The album opens with a five minute missive, “Funeral of a Former Self,” that alludes to the musical renaissance L’Heureux is personally embarking on. One can’t help but revel in the new wave tones he’s tapping into, channelling the brilliance of Ian Curtis. That’s followed by the luminous “Solaris,” featuring the ghostly accompaniment of Jessica Jalbert. This one smacks of Slowdive to me—muted screams of tortured amplifiers are juxtaposed with the opiated numbness of their combined vocal chanting “DNA” with a cold objectivity that mirrors the concept itself. Most out of place for L’Heureux, these two jams are followed by an electronic piece called “Drive” that’s reminiscent of early Morr Music material, at least in their artists’ more uplifting productions. The album goes on and on like this, taking the listener all over the place, leading them through L’Heureux’s own adaptions of various songwriting styles that have spanned the last thirty to forty years. His old strengths are in full swell, all while new tricks are perfected. It’s a true pleasure! And there’s a new video for the record too: - Argue Job


"Layne L'Heureux - Westcoast 7""

Layne L’Heureux has a monk-like dedication to his craft. His attention to honing his skills is exhaustively detailed in a steady output of extra-length albums over the last three years. Stylistic roadblocks along the way are met with complete reinventions. The evolution of his many incarnations — from Mark Kozelek-styled whisper-folk to grunge virtuoso as the songwriter and lead guitarist for Diehatzu Hijets to sword-for-hire member in a myriad of Edmonton bands — brings us to his current form.

This digital 7?, led by the single “Westcoast”, is once again firmly placed in folk. But, L’Heureux’s former delicacy is replaced by confident layers of vocals and solid chord progressions. There is an absolute, raw honesty here that pumps the heartbeat of these songs.

Still, L’Heureux’s stylistic range is evident. The switch to electric guitar in “Kailee” betrays the rock-and-roll superstar inside him. The synths that emerge in “Reason Why” reveal the irresistibly psychedelic side of his output.

These nuances reveal a significant progression from prior collections. It is a reincarnation, but one that makes use of his buried pasts. Each drastic shift in style is incorporated into a release that begins to demonstrate the best that L’Heureux can offer. - Argue Job


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Layne L'Heureux has penned, collaborated, and released over 15 albums. His seminal songs were first released on Labrador City Records, a grass roots record label that was conceived with Tyler Butler, co-founder in 2008. Amongst the singles, Labrador released Layne's first three Records, his self titled effort, Rockheart, and From The Hill.

After extensive touring of Canada's west coast and consistent album releases, Layne L'Heureux began Hanger 11 studios to record and release his most ambitious record to date 'United Hotcake Preferred'. 

Named after Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan (The title used with permission from the Kurt Vonnegut Estate), the record tumbles through fifteen songs of conceptual musings ranging from inner exploration of psychedelic experience into the far reaches of space. Citing references from Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Solaris', to Rolling Stones' 'Some Girls'.

His songs scarcely fall into one category, but branch out, allowing his creativity to be uninhibited. This unorthodox approach makes for an interesting listen, as the compositions unfold organically, instead of restrained to specific genres. He has manifested, and reinvented himself several times musically in an attempt to explore the vast realm of music, allowing most genre's to be examined with his own unique spin.

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