Lucy Dacus's No Burden is full of surprises—sharp lyrical observations, playful turns of musical phrase, hooks that'll embed themselves in your frontal lobe for days. But the most surprising thing about this album might be the fact that it's a debut; it has a keen sense of self about it, and it nearly glows from the self-possession held by the woman at its core.
The 21-year-old Dacus grew up in Richmond; she was adopted at a young age, an experience that informed her curious, openhearted songwriting. "When my parents were explaining what adoption was—which was very early on in my childhood—they always said that my birthmother thought I was worthwhile even though she couldn't be my mom," she says. "And so from essentially infancy, I was taught that life was innately worthwhile because a bunch of people had worked together to set me up with one.
"Every other philosophy of mine has been built on that foundation," she continues. "Humans want this experience for each other; there has to be some reason why. I seem to always end up trying to write and understand how we can live the most worthwhile life, and therefore how we hold each other up from getting there."
Dacus started playing around Richmond while in college, opening for local acts and eventually meeting Jacob Blizard, a guitarist who invited her to make a record for a college project of his. No Burden, which originally came out in February on the Richmond label EggHunt Records, opens with the forthright, almost brutally honest "I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore," the last song Dacus wrote before the album's day-long recording session at Starstruck Studios in Nashville. Dacus delivers scalpel-sharp observations about resisting pigeonholing over chunky guitars, ticking off ideals of femininity and youth until the track's not-quite-resolution.
These themes extend to the lyrics of songs like "Strange Torpedo," a whirling portrait of a friend whose "bunch of bad habits" who, Dacus sings, has "been falling for so long… [and hasn't] hit anything solid yet." "I've been that friend watching a loved one do what they know is bad for them and not understanding why," says Dacus. The song offers a simple message: "'I love you, why don't you love you? You're the one in your body so you get to choose what to do with it, but if I were you I'd treat me differently.'"
The rest of No Burden, which was produced by Collin Pastore, puts Dacus's voice center stage, allowing the glinting poetry of her lyrics to shine even more brightly. "Trust," which Dacus wrote in late 2013, showcases her alone with her guitar, her faint vibrato floating over strummed chords as she sings of self-redemption. And the diptych "Dream State…" and "…Familiar Place," which revolve around Dacus repeating "Without you, I am surely the last of our kind/ Without you, I am surely the last of my kind," capture disappointment and loss in a jaw-dropping way; the music trembles around her while her voice stays steady, anticipating whatever might come next.
No Burden is a forthright, disarmingly catchy statement. And while it's a sterling debut, it only hints at the potential possessed by this passionate, thoughtful young woman. -Maura Johnston
News From The Matablog
The one and only Lucy Dacus recently wrapped a tour opening for Hamilton Leithauser this past Saturday and not a beat so much as passed before another batch of tour dates have been announced. See below the row of May dates where Lucy will be opening for Sylvan Esso. 2017 TOUR DATES Sunday, May 14 - The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC* Thursday, May 18 - Brooklyn Steel, Brooklyn, NY* Saturday, May 20 - Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA* Tuesday, May 23 - Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON* Thursday, May 25 - Higher Ground Ballroom, Burlington, VT* Friday, May 26 - Boston Calling Music Festival, Boston, MA Saturday, May 27 - 9:30 Club, Washington, DC* Saturday, June 10 - Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, TN July 14-16 - Forecastle Festival, Louisville, KY * denotes w/ Sylvan Esso BUY/DOWNLOAD/STREAM No Burden here: http://smarturl.it/NoBurden ONLINE: Website – http://lucydacus.com/ Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/lucy.dacus/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/lucydacus Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lucydacus/
(courtesy Joey Wharton Photography) Lucy Dacus and band kick off a couple of weeks of shows in support of Hamilton Leithauser tonight in Cambridge, MA (see below) . There's a number of charities Lucy's raising money for at the merch table throughout the tour ; here's the full list - 2/8: Cambridge- Rosie's Place 2/9: Philadelphia - Books Through Bars 2/10: Millvale - The Women and Girls Foundation 2/11: Columbus - Youth Advocate Services 2/13: Toronto - Concord Refugee Sponsorship Group 2/15: Chicago - Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 2/16: St. Paul- CAIR-Minnesota (CAIR-MN) 2/17: Madison - Domestic Abuse Intervention Services 2/18: Louisville - Family Scholar House 2/19: Nashville - Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp 2/21: Carrboro - Volunteers for Youth 2/22: Washington - Sitar Arts Center 2/23: Brooklyn - Sylvia Rivera Law Project 2/24: Brooklyn - New Yorkers Against Gun Violence 2/25: New YorkC - Islamic Relief USA (http://irusa.org/) TOUR DATES Wednesday, February 8,The Sinclair, Cambridge MA* Thursday, February 9, Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia PA* SOLD OUT Friday, February 10, Mr. Smalls, Milvale PA* Saturday, February 11, Newport Music Hall, Columbus OH* Monday, February 13, The Opera House, Toronto ON* SOLD OUT Wednesday, February 13, 2/15 Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL* SOLD OUT Thursday, February 16 2/16 Turf Club, St. Paul MN* SOLD OUT Friday, February 17, High Noon Saloon, Madison WI* Saturday, February 18, Zanzabar, Louisville KY* SOLD OUT Sunday, February 19, 3rd & Lindsley Nashville, Nashville TN* Tuesday, February 21, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC* Wednesday, February 22, Rock And Roll Hotel, Washington DC* SOLD OUT Thursday, February 23 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY* SOLD OUT Friday, February 24 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY* SOLD OUT Saturday, February 25 The Bowery Ballroom, Manhattan NY* SOLD OUT May 26-28, Boston Calling, Boston MA June 8-11, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester TN July 14-16, The Forecastle, Louisville KY * - w/ Hamilton Leithauser BUY/DOWNLOAD/STREAM No Burden here: Lucy Dacus online Website Facebook Twitter Instagram
TONIGHT Lucy Dacus will be found playing a headlining show at Mercury Lounge (late show, 11pm). It was only a couple weeks since Lucy and her band opened up for Car Seat Headrest for a back-to-back Bowery Ballroom shows. This show should not be missed as it's your last chance to see the band in North America the rest of 2016. If you're in the UK or EU, you're in luck. There is a nice long list of tour dates up the road. In other Lucy Dacus news there is a gorgeous Blogotheque "A Take Away Show" session out earlier this morning. This can be seen at the top of this post. Wednesday, October 19 – Mercury Lounge, New York NY (LATE SHOW) Friday, October 21 – Primavera Club, Barcelona Wednesday, October 26 – Pitchfork Avant-Garde @ La Mecanique Undulatory , Paris Friday, October 28 – Charlatan, Gent Saturday, October 29 – DDW Music @ Altstadt, Eindhoven Sunday, October 30 – New Fall Festival, Düsseldorf Tuesday, November 1 – The Crofters Rights, Bristol Wednesday, November 2 – The Waiting Room, London Thursday, November 3 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester Friday, November 4 – Brudenell Games Room, Leeds You can order No Burden from the following: The Matador Store Amazon iTunes Bandcamp Spotify/a> Your local independent record store Lucy Dacus online Website Facebook Twitter Instagram
The last time Lucy Dacus was in LA, she and her band taped a session with our friends at Amoeba Hollywood. Today the "Green Room" session is available in full above. In other Lucy news, she capped off this relentless year of touring with a celebratory homecoming show last Friday in Richmond at the city's iconic theater, The National. A couple great photos from said show below. (photo credit: @joey_wharton) (photo credit: @eliseledon) You can order No Burden from the following: The Matador Store Amazon iTunes Bandcamp Spotify Your local independent record store Lucy Dacus online Website Facebook Twitter Instagram
(photo by Dustin Condren) Matador's repress of the LP version of Lucy Dacus' critically acclaimed debut, 'No Burden' in available today, September 9 and can be ordered here. Clear vinyl versions with a limited edition signed poster are in stock at our lovely offices right this moment. The CD and digital versions, though less likely to make a pleasant THUD sound when dropped on your doorstep, kitchen counter or pillow, are available from the usual suspects, listed below. Lucy Dacus on tour : Tuesday, September 13 – Ram’s Head Live – Baltimore MD% SOLD OUT Thursday, September 15 – Bowery Ballroom, New York NY$ SOLD OUT Friday, September 16 – Bowery Ballroom, New York NY$ Saturday, September 17 – The Sinclair – Boston MA$ SOLD OUT Sunday, September 18 – Bar le Ritz PDB, Montreal QC$ Monday, September 19- Virgin Mobile Mod Club,Toronto ON$ Wednesday, September 21 – El Club, Detroit MI$ Thursday, September 22 – The Pygmalion Festival, Urbana IL Saturday, September 24 – MidPoint Music Festival Cincinnati OH Sunday, September 25 – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland OH$ Tuesday, September 27 – Majestic Theatre, Madison WI$ Wednesday, September 28 - Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis MN Friday, September 30 - Stubbs's, Austin TX*, SOLD OUT Saturday, October 1 – Austin City Limits Festival, Zilker Park, Austin, TX Friday, October 7 – The National, Richmond VA Friday, October 21 - Primavera Club, Barcelona Tuesday, October 25 - Eldorado, Switzerland Wednesday, October 26 - Pitchfork Avant-Garde @ La Mecanique Undulatory , Paris Friday, October 28 - Charlatan, Gent Saturday, October 29 - DDW Music @ Altstadt, Eindhoven Sunday, October 30 - New Fall Festival, Düsseldorf Tuesday, November 1 - The Crofters Rights, Bristol Wednesday, November 2 - The Waiting Room, London Thursday, November 3 - Soup Kitchen, Manchester Friday, November 4 - Brudenell Games Room, Leeds % w/ Frightened Rabbit $ w/ Car Seat Headrest * w/ Andrew Bird You can order No Burden from the following: The Matador Store Amazon iTunes Bandcamp Spotify/a> Your local independent record store Lucy Dacus online Website Facebook Twitter Instagram