Christian Lee Hutson / Another Michael

Event Dates
Thursday / July 28, 2022 / 7:00 pm
Venue
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
Massachusetts
02115
United States
Admission
$15 in advance / $17 day of show

Christian Lee Hutson starts his new album, Quitters, with a laugh. In this follow up to his ANTI records debut, Beginners, Hutson moves away from the focus on growing up to the dread and complications of growing older. The laugh that announces Quitters is the kind you’ll find at the end of John Huston films, one of resignation and release—somehow a cosmic laugh that says, “California,” a place where lonely people gather together like birds.

Across Quitters’ 13 tracks, Hutson crafts this portrait of the place he’s from. In these short story-like songs, Hutson presents characters who carry this golden light and sinister geography inside them. It’s a place where everything in the end gets blown away and paved over with something new, where even the ocean and fires are always whispering, “One day we’ll take it all back.” This is a Los Angeles in constant transition, where childhood is lost, where home is gone and can never be visited again. Yet Hutson’s world is also one of happy accidents, where doors are left open on purpose, hoping that someone new will walk through. In the end, what’s left are these songs created by some future spirit, written to comfort the person we are now.

Produced by Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, Quitters is also a departure from the digital recording of his debut. Hutson stated, “When we made Beginners, the aim was to make simple digital recordings of how I would play the songs in the room. With this record, Phoebe and Conor had an idea that it would be fun to make it to tape. Phoebe is my best friend and making Beginners with her was so comfortable and easy. So I wanted to work with her again.”

“I took a long time with Beginners,” Hutson added. “I had those songs for ten years, but these songs came out a lot faster.” Because the songs from Quitters were written in a shorter time, “there was a little bit of insecurity with the lyrics. Having Conor there served the purpose of someone who I really respect as a lyricist and could soothe my anxiety.”

With Quitters, Hutson pulled from a wide range of influences for his second record: the tight rhymes of John Prine, Bob Mehr’s book about the Replacements, Trouble Boys, and Scott McClanahan’s auto-fiction, The Sarah Book. It’s a recording that also feels like a sonic expansion from Hutson’s debut.

For Another Michael, it all boils down to trust. In mid-2017, the critically acclaimed indie three-piece packed their bags and collectively relocated from Albany, New York to a shared house in West Philadelphia. This move signaled not only the start of a new chapter for the trio, but also a deepening of the bonds that would come to define their captivating debut LP, New Music and Big Pop.

“It’s hard for a group of people to get closer than living together,” says bassist and producer Nick Sebastiano. “The stronger our connection grew, the more it shaped the music we found ourselves making.”

It should come as little surprise, then, that New Music and Big Pop is Another Michael’s most collaborative work yet. Recorded in a small, A-frame house-turned-makeshift studio outside Ferndale, New York, the record finds the trio pushing their sound in a dreamier, more folk-influenced direction, building songs around vulnerable, intimate performances using an ethereal palette of breezy guitars, subtle keyboards, and layered harmonies. As on the band’s early EPs, singer and songwriter Michael Doherty’s mesmerizing voice is front and center here, calling to mind Robin Pecknold or Ben Bridwell in its reedy, crystalline timbre; but it feels more at home than ever before amidst the album’s lush, Technicolor landscape, which the band partnered with producer and fellow housemate Scoops Dardaris to create. The result is a masterfully understated record that belies its status as a full-length debut—a thoughtful, poetic, collection all about growth and change, hope and faith, endings and beginnings, delivered by a band that’s only just begun to scratch the surface of their story.