Aerial East details new LP, Try Harder, out 12th Feb 2021 via Partisan & shares title track and video.
Warm and wistful, unvarnished and intimate, Aerial East makes anthems for sitting in our own groundlessness and finding a specific peace within it. Her new album - Try Harder - out February 12th 2021 via Partisan Records - draws from East’s teenage years in West Texas, resulting in a beautiful ode to those of us who feel like our edges are rough, that perhaps we don’t always quite fit in. Today, East shares the title track from Try Harder, accompanied by a music video directed by Adinah Dancyger and filmed on NYC’s East River.
East elaborates on the song’s meaning:
"It’s about being on the outside and noticing how some things that seem easy for others might be harder for me. I wrote it quite a while ago and have been playing it live for several years
with different arrangements.
As the album started to come together, I realized how well this song fit into the emerging theme of alienation. My hope with this record is that people can connect over shared experiences.
Maybe even especially experiences of isolation and alienation."
Through deceptively simple lyrics and a conspicuous absence of percussion, Try Harder is a tight yet eclectic collection of songs, both sonically and emotionally. East dives into what she has known - adolescence, heartbreak, coming into a new social consciousness, and managing a perpetual feeling of unanchored-ness – in the hopes to tell stories we don’t hear often.
On album highlight “Katharine,” East offers a touching reflection on a meaningful friendship now faded. The harp-driven “The Things We Build” is simultaneously weightless and profound, as East struggles to find a sense of belonging and ownership in both a relationship and life in general. Elsewhere, acclaimed Brooklyn-via-Norway singer Okay Kaya lends guest vocals to the delicate and cutting “Jonas Said”. East visualized Try Harder as feeling like the desert at night, explaining:
“I wanted it to be healing and calm, something you can listen to even if the world is ending. Western, but quiet and intimate. I wanted it to have gravity but didn’t want it to be heavy.”
As the daughter of a military family, East spent her late childhood in Europe and teenage years in Abilene, Texas. After dropping out of community college, she moved to NYC where she’d meet a group of musicians whom she would come to befriend and collaborate with including Okay Kaya, Kelsey Lu, Wet and more.
Last month, East released a gorgeously exposed cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,”
Among many films, artists, and musicians, East drew inspiration from 20th minimalist century painter Agnes Martin.
“I wanted the record to feel harmonizing to people. When I look at an Agnes Martin painting I feel realigned,” adding, “I wanted to make something like that.”
A departure from her previous work, on ‘Try Harder’ East’sdelicate voice takes center stage,creating an unvarnished intimacy between her and the listener, a reflection of her live performances.
“I wanted the album to be easily translatable into a live show,”
“Rooms’ was about a very painful time for me, but it also has a lot of silliness that I still relate to,” “With ‘Try Harder’ I’m moving away from fantasy.”
The end result is a beautiful ode to those of us who feel like life sometimes is a little bit harder, that we don’t quite fit in, that our edges are rough.
“I grew up moving around in the military, so I never really had roots anywhere. ‘Try Harder’ is an album-length anthem forsitting in our own discomfort and groundlessness and finding a specific
peace with it.
I’m just trying to figure out where the space is for me. Where can I dig in.”
And she has.
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