Laura Stevenson – Wheel
Don Giovanni, 2013
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2015
The primary function of my year end lists is to create a shopping list for future record shopping. If a record cracks my top ten, I’m almost always gonna buy it if I can find it for less than $10 used. Laura Stevenson’s Wheel got a tremendous amount of play in 2013, so it’s nice to have this beauty in the collection. Stevenson has a punk rock pedigree, which earns her my ear, and her untrained voice lends an honesty to these songs that you’ll never find on the albums of the autotuned darlings of the day. That untrained-ness doesn’t stop Stevenson from belting out lines, to great emotional effect. Wheel is a supremely beautiful record, one that I can apparently put on a year after last hearing it and feel my body flooded with its power. It reminds me so vividly of the last months we spent in Minneapolis, riding my bike everywhere, enjoying the serenity of Minnesota in the springtime. I’ve gotta few albums like that in my arsenal. My Minnesota albums. Ones that, if I listen to too much I start missing that place to an unbearable degree. Someday soon, Laura Stevenson is going to kick everyone's ass and people will say, "She came out of nowhere! Such greatness!" and I'll be here over exaggeratedly pointing at this record and saying, "This came out like four years ago!"
"Runner" - Brilliant summer jam, highlighting Stevenson's pop-chops, which are excellent, as you can see.
"The Wheel" - But my favorite bits on this record are the quiet, soul-poking ones that serve as a gravitas delivery vehicle.