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Jazz 15/05/2024

Cassandra Jenkins Reveals US Tour Dates And Releases 'Delphinium Blue' Track/Video

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Cassandra Jenkins Reveals US Tour Dates And Releases 'Delphinium Blue' Track/Video
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Like the night sky itself, the world of My Light, My Destroyer is always expanding. Cassandra Jenkins' third full-length, out July 12th via Dead Oceans, cracks open the promise of reaching the edge of the new, with a wider sonic palette than ever before - encompassing guitar-driven indie rock, new age, sophistipop, and jazz.

At the center of it all is Jenkins' curiosity towards the quarks and quasars that make up her universe, as she blends field recordings with poetic lyricism that is at turns allusive, humorous, devastating and confessional - an alchemical gesture that further deepens the richness of My Light, My Destroyer's 13 songs.

After having recently released her stunningly lush first single, "Only One," with an accompanying video, Cassandra has released the cavernous new age pop track "Delphinium Blue," along with a video which Cassandra also directed.

Regarding the lyrics, Jenkins writes: "Sometimes when I don't know where to turn, I look for something reliably beautiful. Applying for a job at my local flower shop felt like survival instinct kicking in, and that job got me through one of the bluest periods in my life- being surrounded by flowers didn't just make the weight easier to bear- it helped me understand it and myself better. I began to dream in technicolor; flowers became the language of my subconscious. At times I felt like I was surrounded by a Greek Chorus while I went about my menial tasks- they took on an all knowing quality, like they held the keys if I was willing to listen, like they were porters of my grief, and delicate portals to awareness."

Regarding the recording process:"The lyrics of Delphinium Blue had a solitary residence in the back of my mind for years, and the recording process was very collaborative. The song felt like a crustacean crawling around the ocean floor, trying on different shells, until it finally found a home when I called Isaac (Eiger, of Strange Ranger). We got together at his home studio & worked together to shape its form, before I sent it to Andrew Lappin and he agreed to sneak it onto the album as the paint was starting to dry. It felt like just the right outlier, so we worked in Andrew's LA studio to bring it into the world of the album with players like Spencer Zahn on fretless bass, Kosta Galanopolos for some of the more bombastic percussion, and Michael Coleman on synths. It's my melancholy bi-coastal bop."

Jenkins suffuses My Light, My Destroyer with an easy confidence, which betrays the simple truth that the road here was not without difficulty. Referring to the 2021 breakout An Overview on Phenomenal Nature as her "intended swan song," she explains that she was prepared to hang it up when it came to touring and releasing her own music. "I was channeling what I knew in that moment- feeling lost," Jenkins recalls. "When that record came out, and people started to respond to what I had written, my plans to quit were foiled in the most unexpected, heartening, and generous way. Ready or not, it reinvigorated me."

With her closest musical co-conspirators assembled, and producer, engineer, and mixer Andrew Lappin (L'Rain, Slauson Malone 1) behind the board, Jenkins began constructing My Light, My Destroyer from the ashes of a false start she had made while "running on fumes" after two years of touring An Overview. "When we listened back in the control room that first day, I could see a space on my record shelf start to open up, because the songs were finding their home in real time. That spark informed the blueprint for the rest of the album, and its completion was propelled by a newfound momentum."

Even as My Light, My Destroyer was developed over the course of a year, some of the songs had been incubating in Jenkins' notebooks for years; There were sonic reference points in her mind during the album's creation: Tom Petty's deceptively breezy folk-rock classicism, the work of songwriters like Annie Lennox and Neil Young, Robert Ashely's Automatic Writing, her "high school CD wallet" (Radiohead's the Bends, the Breeders, PJ Harvey, and Pavement), and David Bowie's final gesture Blackstar; along with lyrical influences from writers like Anne Carson, Maggie Nelson, Rebecca Solnit, and the ever present work of the late David Berman.

"I became even more interested in words, translation, and the malleability of language. I'm becoming better at letting myself explore ideas before self-editing; while I was writing, I wasn't afraid to laugh at my own jokes, which makes the process of sharing these songs that much more free and fun."

But above all and as ever, Jenkins is drawing inspiration from the chattering electricity of the world around her, squinting through radio static with the desire to gain a greater understanding. "I feel most energized when I'm out in the world, in the mix of things," she says. "Coming back home to New York, being with my close friends and community, riding the subway, and going to live shows made me want to channel the palpable feeling of the electricity in a room full of people— I need to be fully immersed in my environment. New York City is endlessly stimulating, and I'm very impressionable." Deftly weaving field recording, found sound, and ancillary audio (like train sounds & flight attendants) she brings attention to stranger-than-fiction moments that bring the listener in.
"The record poses questions about our instinct for companionship and looks for that heartbeat, that connection, everywhere, ultimately finding that it exists in a place somewhere between us and other side of the glass."

Joining her in this immersion is a cast of friends pulled from across the modern indie rock spectrum, as My Light, My Destroyer far more represents a group effort than the largely solitary pursuits of its predecessor. Cassandra's main collaborator and producer, Andrew Lappin, Palehound's El Kempner, Hand Habits' Meg Duffy, Isaac Eiger (formerly of Strange Ranger), Katie Von Schleicher, Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy), Daniel McDowell (Amen Dunes), guitarist Grey McMurray, producer and instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (of Jenkins' An Overview), producer Stephanie Marziano (Hayley Williams, Bartees Strange), and Jenkins' friend, director/actor/journalist Hailey Benton Gates, who jokingly suggested the title for the album's meditative coda "Hayley" when Jenkins didn't come up with a follow-up to An Overview's "Hailey."

Jenkins bent towards natural & supernatural phenomena alike appears throughout (the Earth's atmosphere, lizards, flowers, the galaxy, lab grown strawberries, etc) only to bring us back to the core parts of ourselves. The pivotal point on My Light, My Destroyer is the nocturnal "Betelgeuse," in which Jenkins, in her words, reaches the zenith of her exploration in "trying to maintain a sense of curiosity as a way of staying connected with myself and nature." Soft piano and a dialogue between two sylvan-sounding horns accompany a field recording of Cassandra and her mother, Sandra, stargazing in the illuminated night. "She is in touch with curiosity like no one else," Jenkins says of her mother, a life-long science teacher. "I caught her in one of her many teaching moments, which reminded me that learning the night sky will take a lifetime, or more - and that's just from the vantage point of Earth."

It is that endless gaze towards the unknown that defines My Light, My Destroyer, and it's under that context that Jenkins decodes opposing forces contained with the album title - emphasizing the power of a straight-ahead gaze into futures, possibilities, and great unknowns in spite of how they may shake our core beings. "Staying in touch with a sense of awe is in some ways a muscle, a practice; but it's also built into our wiring, as a function of nature- to help us remember to pause and appreciate our time on earth, for all its chaos and its beauty."

US Tour Dates
​​06/08/24 Sat Toronto ON Luminato Festival
07/11/24 Thu Brooklyn NY Public Records (sold out)
09/19/24 Thu Chicago IL Sleeping Village
09/21/24 Sat Philadelphia PA Johnny Brenda's
09/22/24 Sun Boston MA Sinclair
09/27/24 Fri Montreal QC Pop Montreal
10/09/24 Wed Seattle WA Barboza
10/11/24 Fri Portland OR The Old Church
10/13/24 Sun San Francisco CA Rickshaw Stop
10/14/24 Mon Los Angeles CA Zebulon
10/30/24 Wed Brooklyn NY Music Hall of Williamsburg

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