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Ian Sweet >
31/01/2019 - 31/01/2019 - Hamburg - Aalhaus
Performing Artists:

Ian Sweet
IAN SWEET has been the source of and solution tomany of Jilian Medford’s deepest anxieties. But now, two years after hersoul-bearing debut LP Shapeshifter,Medford is confronting that reality with surprising optimism on her newfull-length Crush Crusher. Medfordhas decided to make the project a solo endeavor once again (as it had been in hersalad days in the Boston DIY scene) and took the opportunity to compose some ofher most self reflective and emotionally analytical songs to date.

In writing CrushCrusher, Medford committed herself to exploring her own issues with self-image,self-respect/worth, and the responsibility she has felt to others. Album opener“Hiding” was one of the first songs she wrote for the record while living in a frigidBrooklyn apartment during a winter break amidst her grueling tour schedule. Inthe song, Medford reflects on an interpersonal relationship that fell apartbecause of an inability to feel supreme comfort in sharing all the pieces ofherself with someone. Nevertheless, a hopeful demeanor shines through on “Hiding”and in her writing across the album, with lyrics that embrace life’s hurdlesand make them feel a little less scary.

Much of CrushCrusher’s songs deal with Medford’s internalized pressure to become acaretaker in many of her close friends’ lives. As a defense mechanism for herown insecurities, Medford projects a sense of invincibility and benevolence tofeel more deserving of the love received from others; we hear this on“Holographic Jesus” when she repeats the phrase “the sun built me to shadeeverybody,” characterizing the sacrifice and responsibility she feels in ways thatcould easily go unnoticed. “Holographic Jesus” ultimately represents a façadeof strength that Medford has clung onto and, in true Taurus fashion, isstubborn to let go of. 

Musically, CrushCrusher is full of dissonant open chords and abnormal progressions, findingbeauty in a level of conflict not seen on Shapeshifter.To help achieve this expansive-but-focused sound, Medford enlisted the help of someonewho was just as ambitiously experimental in their approach, producer andengineer Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, The War on Drugs, Soccer Mommy). Medford and Waxset up shop at Rare Book Room studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and completedthe basic tracking with musicians Simon Hanes on bass and Max Almario on drums.“Coming into a space where some of my biggest inspirations like Bjork, DirtyProjectors, and Deerhunter had all once also recorded, I felt determined topush myself and test every boundary that I may have subconsciously createdalong the way. Gabe made me feel comfortable with attempting anything,” Medfordsays. By the end of the recording process, IAN SWEET wound up with anunconventional assortment of songs featuring disparate elements of psych-rock,trip-hop, and shoegaze that together forged a sound uniquely her own.

Crush Crusher ’s closingtrack “Your Arms Are Water” serves as a thematic reprise for the whole album,telling the story of an inspiring relationship in Medford’s life that was drowningin doubt. The song’s nuanced perspective captures the record’s thesis—that toescape your misery sometimes requires accepting your imperfections. Suchcompassionate and densely-realized observations make Crush Crusher more nourishing food for thought for fans of IANSWEET.

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