- Imagine Our Love - - 2007-05-08
- The Cavalry of Light - - 2007-01-30
|Imagine Our Love
May 8, 2007
"Remarkable vision...a genuinely beautiful, beguiling record, recalling the Carpenters and Kate Bush." - Mojo
The debut album from Los Angeles-based Lavender Diamond is a tour-de-force of gorgeous melody and uplifting sentiment. Led by the shining, charismatic spirit Becky Stark, Lavender Diamond bring a punk-rooted DIY aesthetic to their enormously entertaining and heartfelt - and vaguely subversive - blend of 60s enthusiasm and 70s-style songwriting. Produced by Thom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, Devendra Banhart), Imagine Our Love pulls together elements of folk, pop, country, performance art, children's music, and protest anthems to make one of the most original musical statements we've heard in years.
Lavender Diamond began in 2003 as a character Becky created for a traveling operetta. As a solo artist, she released a 7" single and full-length CD (both long out of print). 2004 saw Becky playing country songs with guitarist Jeff Rosenberg (who left the band shortly after recording this album), classical arias and tin pan alley tunes with pianist Steve Gregoropoulos, and voice and drum psychedelic doo-wop with drummer Ron Rege Jr.; she proposed they all unite and form one band together, and Lavender Diamond as we know it was born. In 2005, they releasedThe Cavalry Of Light EP (re-released by Matador in January 2007), which features the live favorite "You Broke My Heart," a series of vocal and piano crescendos that burns itself into your brain with its persistence and simplicity.
Becky Stark started singing in church, studied classical singing as a teenager, and first performed at a rock concert with the children's choir at the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1989, opening for the band Skid Row. She studied Semiotics and Russian literature at Brown University and left before graduating to join the Merce Cunningham Dance Conservatory. She eventually landed in LA, where she found a wildly broad-minded musical community and vibrant theater, film, and comedy scenes. Ron is a noted cartoonist, illustrator and author of the classic graphic novel "Skibber Bee-Bye." His artwork adorns the CD cover and booklet. Steve is a classical composer, and among other feats, played in Boston band The Wild Stares and composed a full-length ballet for the Oscar Wilde story "The Selfish Giant".
Though Becky's influences range from Prince to Linda Ronstadt to Lightning Bolt, her songs have the immediacy of nursery rhymes or church music. Her crystalline soprano soars over rhythmic, insistent piano-guitar-drums instrumentation which is striking for both its rawness and its orchestral sweep. By turns celebratory ("Open Your Heart", "Here Comes One"), plaintive ("I'll Never Lie Again", "When You Wake For Certain"), playful ("Garden Rose," "My Shadow Is A Monday"), and stunningly mantric ("Like An Arrow", "Oh No"), Imagine Our Love carries a common message of hope, change, thinking with your heart, and the unique emotional power of music.
http://www.lavenderdiamond.com (discography athttp://www.lavenderdiamond.com/music.html)
|The Cavalry of Light
January 30, 2007
The Cavalry Of Light is the debut EP from Los Angeles's LAVENDER DIAMOND, led by the enigmatic, charismatic spirit Becky Stark.
The EP leads off with the glorious anthem and live favorite "You Broke My Heart," a series of vocal and piano crescendos that burns itself into your brain with its rawness and simplicity.
Stark's gorgeous, classically trained vocals (we are talking about an enormously powerful female larynx here) are the most immediately gripping aspect of LAVENDER DIAMOND, but the insistent, pretty riffs and affecting world-wisdom of the lyrics combine to surprising effect.
A little bit folk, a little bit children's music, a little bit protest anthem, this music is like nothing you've ever heard before. The mystical artwork of keyboardist Ron Rege Jr. (see jacket illustration above), also a well-known LA cartoonist, seals the deal.
LAVENDER DIAMOND's debut full-length, Imagine Our Love, will be out on Matador May 8.
"Stark makes music about the basics of life, delivered in a beautiful way. It's about simplicity and seeing what's hidden in plain sight: a bed is a drum, and the death-metaler is merely the Cookie Monster held upside down." -- LA Weekly
"Lavender Diamond could easily draw comparisons to a number of AM-radio mainstays: The Carpenters, Joni Mitchell.... Lavender Diamond has the potential to woo the world." – Dusted
News From The Matablog
(Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark, Saturday night at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theatre. Picture taken from Hazyskyline's Flickr stream) OK, file this under an 11th hour announcement. After a pair of shows this weekend in LA and SF supporting Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, Lavender Diamond conclude their brief run with She & Him with the following shows : Nov. 3 (tonight) - Bimbo's 365, San Francisco Nov. 4 - House Of Blues, Anaheim
Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark sent us the following message over the weekend. In the interests of preserving her own aesthetic (ie. I'm too lazy to rewrite anything), here's her invitation to a pair of Manhattan performances, tonight and tomorrow : the first night is this monday the 15th at the cake shop- at 8 pm- i'll be singing with olivia mori and with harper simon on guitar- some new love songs to the earth ( and some old ones too but i promise you they will be pretty!) and then on tuesday night we're playing again at joe's pub- at 9:30 pm- both nights also are playing the human highway and harper simon's band- it will be a very beautiful pair of nights! and only more and more beautiful when you come! to our show! ok - so - Monday, September 15 The Cake Shop 8 pm 152 Ludlow Street nyc 10002 costs eight dollars! Tuesday, September 16 Joe's Pub 9:30 pm 425 Lafayette Street nyc 10003 costs fifteen dollars!
Sorry for the super late notice, folks, but we only got these dates very recently. Lavender Diamond's mega-talented Becky Stark, aside from providing backing vocals to portions of the She & Him set, can be seen opening the proceedings at the following venues this week. August 5: Chicago, Illinois - Park West August 7: Minneapolis, Minnesota - First Avenue August 8: Madison, Wisconsin - Barrymore
From Lavender Diamond.com : "Becky & Ron have an art show in Echo Park for the rest of the month. - we'll be having special workshops, and little performances throughout the month - stop by & say hello!"
Hello from Los Angeles! We thought we'd mention that we're playing here at The Wiltern - tonight! supporting the Dresden Dolls. We'll be playing a couple of new songs! Also! We've been working hard lately making a movie version of our album Imagine Our Love! Becky will be hosting a very special celebration & preview of these "Psychedelic Healing Visons" next Tuesday, May 27 at The Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood! Oh, did you see that video? I was hoping that when we made a record like Imagine Our Love that someday, something like this would come along! Thanks so much to the The Marlton Middle School Chorus, and their director Ms. Morganelli! Peace! -Ron
5/18/07--Lavender Diamond: An Official Report
(Becky Stark, live at San Diego's M-Theory Records, pic taken from Javan's Flickr collection, used sans permission)
Hello world of all you gentle people!
As i write to you I am in the fair city of Seattle! Home of all the best new revolutions and i'd like to report that there's another good one coming. Although, I have to say, it's kind of mean to say that some revolutions are better than others- in fact- it might be downright false so I'll just say- here's to all the revolutions- each and every one of them- except i guess that some revolutions are sort of terrible- well - maybe we can have a discussion about the nature of revolutions and which ones are the "best"! i mean, when i say "best" what i really mean is that those are the ones that make me excited! and also - i will say briefly- although seriously we could talk forever about this- that the revolutions i like best are the ones that create new feelings and experiences of equality- freedom- celebration– inifinite possibilites- respect for all people– respect for the earth– open communication— and kindness! ok- i'm rambling a little bit! this is supposed to be an official report !
actually- speaking of revolution i have two good ideas for new revolutions-
ok - call me corny( you won't be the first) but i think it would be great to have a friendship revolution. ok i will briefly describe the friendship revolution:
it's simple- the friendship revolution is a new way of being where everyone is friendly to each other. it's simple but just think of it! it's makes me excited! say for instance, that you heard ( not necessarily from me) that there was a revolution of friendliness afoot! that people all over the world were indiscriminately expressing love and friendliness to each other! wouldn't you be psyched and want to join in on the fun? wouldn't you want to feel the weight lifted off your heart as you were given free license to love? well- here at lavender diamond we'd like to announce that anyone who wants one will be issued an official license to express love and appreciation. we'll send it to you in the mail, or the email- or you can download it from our website. (um.. i'll have to work on that) that way- anytime you are feeling sad or disconnected, you can remember that you are part of the revolution and you have license to be friendly, express love, see the beauty in the world, etc., etc., ok so pretend you didn't hear it from me but it's true that kindness and gentleness are spreading like wildfire! can't be contained! the population's gone wild! friendliness for no reason! people loving each other! inexplicable! uncontrollable! the winds of change blowing the raging blaze of kindness!
ok- that is the first revolution-
and the second one-
well- maybe i'll leave the second one for next time that's probably enough for now-
but oh! hey! our record came out! hooray! one million thanks to matador and also to rough trade records, our other home! we are really proud of this record- i think it sounds just like us! we put all our love into it- we hope you enjoy listening to it and it makes you feel good and gives you strength!
last week we went on a little tour of the west coast and played in record stores! it was really fun! blake from matador came with us. no one told us that he is a mystical spiritual healer! in a nutshell - blake healed is all! we had a blast! two especially funny things happened:
1) ron fell off the stage at sonic boom records in seattle! it would have been tragic if he had hurt himself but he landed on someone's desk on their files and his feet only were left on the stage. it was hilarious! the stage is very small, by the way- and steve warned him- but ron is a very passionate drummer! this maybe wasn't as bad as when i slipped on a drum stick and fell down onstage in berlin- ok fell down is not the right description- i flew into the air after flailing my arms around trying to catch my balance and then my legs went up vertical to ground and i landed flat on my back like a cartoon prat fall- oh my god- ! good thing we are all safe.
2) when we played at music millenium in portland i was a few minutes late and the rest of the best was already there and as i walked in they were playing the record and i got confused and i thought they had started without me- except that my voice was playing over the stereo. i guess this is testament to the fact that a) the record sounds just like us! and b) i am a tiny bit crazy.
oh god, there is so much more to report! i really have to start writing in more often! our dear beloved guitarist jeff rosenberg had to leave our band. we are so sad. but we've found someone to play with us and his name is devon williams. we call him devon williams the great. i'll have to tell the full story later about how we found him but i'll tell you now that it was mysterious! in any event, devon was with us last week for the instore tour and we made a little video in the van. it's ridiculous. if anyone wants to see it- um .. let me know. it's a psychedelic experimental comedy. we are going to make lots of comedy videos on our tour!
oh! and we had a great time at both amoeba records stores in sf and la. there's nothing like amoeba records! i guess we'll have to make more records so that we can play more in-stores! or - um- play at other record stores. oh! and also we had a wonderful time at m-theory records in san diego! san diego is like a little paradise. the people were listening so close! we ate at a place called jimmy carter's restaurant - with no apparent relationship to jimmy carter at all except for the name. it was weird! then we saw the silver daggers play at a punk house downtown. oh my god! the silver daggers are incredible! everyone should listen to their new record! in general my report about the instore tour is that the world is a beautiful place! seriously, every place we went it was exquisite. and i'm not exaggerating! ok it is spring and i was told that we were experiencing particularly beautiful days, but still my report, based on our recent experience, is that the world is a beautiful place.
ok- oh! and i'm doing some solo shows with my friend miranda july! in seattle, portland and nyc. the one in new york is with miranda and david byrne! i'm so excited. the theme of the night is belonging and i'm going to see if everyone will sing a song together - the audience and everyone! singing together with a lot of people feels amazing! it's true!
ok- well- now i'm off to see the wizard- just kidding - off to to a concert tonight with miranda! she's going to read from her new book which is beautiful! everyone should read it. it's called "no one belongs here more than you." i love her so much ! and i love you, too- whoever you are-
peace all you wild people!
5/15/07--The Revolution Will Wear Rollerskates
(Pic stolen from The Fader)
Skate over to Lavender Diamond's music and video page to check out a stream of the "Open Your Heart" video. If I'm understanding this video right, the liberation of the suburbs will involve a lot of bright colors, floral prints, and waving arms.
4/25/07--Presenting...The Lavender Diamond Player
For your streaming pleasure, the portions of Lavender Diamond's forthcoming 'Imagine Our Love' (CD/LP, May Eigth), right here.
4/13/07 —Lavender Diamond with strings attached
Lavender Diamond is performing next Thursday at the Redcat theatre in the Disney Concert Hall. This is a really special event as they will be performing with an orchestra behind them who will be accompanying the band with arrangements written by Steve Gregoropoulos. This is a very special one off engagement with Indian Jewelry, so if you're in the LA area, clear your calender. Check out details on the Tour Page
4/12/07 —Make that new image (no "s") in the Gallery
Scratch that previous thing about new images in the gallery. Those images were old, so we replaced them with a new picture of the beautiful Becky Stark. Check it out before we change it again!
3/29/07--A Lavender Diamond Update
After a pair of intimate NYC shows earlier this month that can only be described as triumphant (though the words "beautiful" and "well attended" also come to mind), anticipation for Lavender Diamond's forthcoming 'Imagine Our Love' CD/LP (May 8, 2007) are reaching unparalleled levels of hysteria. We're doing our best to keep a watchful eye on finished copies of the album during this CD-burning era of badness, and if you've heard any stories about bodies being carried out of 625 Broadway in plastic garbage bags, be advised this is just silly hyperbole. There aren't any garbage bags strong enough.
5/19 San Francisco CA The Independent
5/21 Portland OR Doug Fir Lounge
5/22 Seattle WA The Triple Door
5/27 Chicago IL Empty Bottle
5/30 Toronto OR Lees Palace
5/31 Montreal QC La Sala Rossa
6/1 Boston MA Museum of Fine Arts
6/3 New York NY Bowery Ballroom
6/3 Philadelphia PA First Unitarian Church Sanctuary
6/12 Austin TX The Parish
6/13 Denton TX Haileys
6/16 W. Hollywood CA Troubadour
2/28/07 —New images in the Gallery
We've got new images in the gallery--Lavender Diamond's first publicity photos for Matador.
2/20/07 —Lavender Diamond - Inna World Premiere Style
Lavender Diamond - "Open Your Heart" (streaming), from the forthcoming CD/LP 'Imagine Our Love' (in stores, May 8, 2007)
1/16/07 —First MP3
In the signing announcement we called Lavender Diamond "a vehicle for the astonishing vocals and buoyant worldview of Becky Stark," and just to prove we don't bandy around the phrase "astonishing vocals" lightly, here is the first track off of "Calvary of Light:" "You Broke My Heart."
1/16/07 —Lavender Diamond sign to Matador Records
Short of declaring we'll take the entire week off, nothing could please us more than announcing Matador's signing of Lavender Diamond for North America, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
Primarily a vehicle for the astonishing vocals and buoyant worldview of Becky Stark, the Los Angeles-based Lavender Diamond's take on the dying art of the perfect pop song is as elemental as it is ambitious — though their forthcoming Matador full-length, Imagine Our Love (due the eighth of May), is more of the latter.
Joined by the crack ensemble of drummer Ron Rege Jr. (an accomplished cartoonist whose work has adorned Lavender Diamond sleeves and posters), guitarist Jeff Rosenberg and pianist Steve Gregoropolous (formerly of The Wild Stares, Wild Stares Chamber Orchestra), Lavender Diamond have stunned audiences across the U.S. with equal portions of deft musicianship, disarming humor, bucketloads of charisma, and most of all…Ms. Stark's mindblowing voice.
Through their self-released 'The Cavalry Of Light' EP, headlining shows and performances in support of Beck, the Decemberists and other heavyweights, Lavender Diamond have received a ridiculous amount of attention in a very short span. Some of that attention has included the near-obsessive interest of various Matador owners and staffers, who firmly believe that working with this group is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
(The same could be said, of course, of being pushing out of a speeding car, but we suspect this will be a far more exciting experience.)
Matador's reissue of 'The Cavalry Of Light' will hit shops on January 30. In Europe, Lavender Diamond's new recordings will be available via Rough Trade.
We'll have some new U.S. dates to announce shortly. Prior to that, Lavendar Diamond are supporting the Decemberists on their February European tour.
Lavender Diamond at MySpace
Music & Video
- You Broke My Heart http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NlEyIG7a5sQ