Sounds Local: Lux Deluxe — What You Need
The new Lux Deluxe album, “It’s A Girl,” opens with “What You Need,” a song that is also the first single off the disc. The song starts out with a blipping synthesizer that sounds straight out of the 1980s, then some keyboards kick in followed by a sweeping string section. By the time lead vocalist Ned King sings the line “What you need is more than I got” in a voice full of resignation, the listener realizes that this moody, melodic song is indeed Lux Deluxe. But it sure doesn’t sound like the Lux Deluxe we heard on the group’s first album, “Hollow Ground.”
Ned King said that the Northampton-based band chose this song as the first single for that very reason.
“We kind of worked up a reputation around here as being more of an Americana country-rock band and we’ve changed a lot,” explained King in a recent phone conversation. “We wanted to be more associated with indie rock artists like Wilco and My Morning Jacket. That song has a really cool vibe to it and I’m psyched for people to hear it.”
Lux Deluxe is psyched for people to hear all of “It’s A Girl” and that will happen when the band holds a CD-release show on Saturday, April 12, at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton, at 10 p.m. Opening will be Violent Mae from Portland, Maine.
In addition to King, Lux Deluxe consists of Jake Edwards (drums), brothers Jacob (bass) and Caleb (guitar) Rosazza and their cousin Gabe Bernini on keyboards. The Rosazzas and Bernini started making music together when they were in grade school. Lux Deluxe formed in 2009 when the five band members connected while they were students at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School in South Hadley.
The band released “Hollow Ground” in 2011 when some of its members were still in high school; the oldest band member is now 22. King and Jacob Rosazza are the songwriters of the group and they wrote about 30 songs and eventually settled on nine for the record. “So Far Away,” a song of lost love in which King sings in voice reminiscent of Eddie Vedder, was the one song that all the band members helped write.
Since releasing “Hollow Ground,” the band has performed countless shows and become a must-see live act. King, who grew up in Athol, is a dynamic front man who is a whirlwind of motion once he hits the stage. King used to play guitar in the band but now just focuses on his role as singer.
When it came time to make “It’s A Girl,” Lux Deluxe wanted to give listeners a good sense of what the band has become.
“We wanted to get people excited about seeing us live, to let people know that they could see us play a whole record and know that there wasn’t a song on there that we couldn’t do,” said King. “That was the goal from the beginning.”
Lux Deluxe pulls it off with this varied collection of songs that range from the catchy “Hook or by Crook” to the gritty Stones-like rocker “Talk to Her.” “The Last Volunteer” has a clamoring guitar sound reminiscent of Wilco and the most unusual track on the album is “MTV,” a song that King said is his favorite to listen to. The Beatles-esque pop song is a fun listen, especially at the very end when we hear the song played backwards.
“I almost like the chords better backwards and the melody is weird — it sounds like an Italian ballad!” King said.
“I hope people hear a new Lux Deluxe and that people that haven’t heard us before hear something new or something that they haven’t heard in awhile,” added King. “We tried to make the record a coherent piece of art.”
Next up is taking the album on the road. Beginning this month, Lux Deluxe will tour the East Coast and will showcase at the esteemed North by Northwest music festival in Toronto in June. King said the band has been rehearsing up to 20 hours a week getting ready for the tour. And since Lux Deluxe is known for going all out at its shows, I asked King if he could give us a glimpse on what to expect at Saturday.
“We will do the record in its playing order, including all the interludes between songs,” he said. “Every song is going to have something different and fun and we are going to pull out all the stops. If people are going to pay ten bucks, we are going to give them their ten bucks worth — no, make that we will give them a 100 dollars’ worth.”
Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.iheg.com at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main St., Northampton, or charge by phone at 413-586-8686.
Green River Festival Lineup Unveiling Continues
The Green River Festival continues to unveil its lineup — one artist at a time. The first performer organizers announced was Josh Ritter, who will perform on Sunday, July 13. Since then, Signature Sounds has added the retro-pop singing duo Lucius, which will play on Saturday, July 12. Trampled by Turtles will bring its frantic bluegrass sounds to the festival on Sunday, July 13, and the master of funky New Orleans party music, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, will appear on Saturday, July 12. The most recent addition to the lineup is the reunited Blasters — brothers Phil and Dave Alvin — who will play the festival on Sunday. So far, so good! Early-bird tickets are $59.99 for the entire weekend and can be purchased at www.greenriverfestival.com or at the Signature Sounds office at 32 Masonic St. in Northampton.
Abe Loomis CD release show
This past Sunday, Abe Loomis of Conway kicked off the Sunday Music Series at the People’s Pint, 24 Federal St., Greenfield. The series will run every Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. during the month of April. Loomis was accompanied by vocalist Melissa Shelter and fiddle player Eric Lee, and entertained the lunch crowd with his country-folk sounds, providing a glimpse of the material on his soon-to-be-released CD “The Early Treasuries.” Loomis will release the new disc when he holds a CD release show at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton, on Monday, April 14, at 7 p.m. This will be a full-band show and he will be joined by Shelter, Lee, Dave Chalfant, Jim Henry, Tracy Grammer and others.
The Sunday afternoon music series at the People’s Pint continues this week with a show by Sandy Bailey and the Stone Cold Fox.
Tickets for Abe Loomis CD release show at the Iron Horse Music Hall are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org