Exclaim! and Culture Collide share new music from Annalibera
Annalibera’s debut album Nevermind I Love You is streaming in full this week exclusively at Exclaim! and the music video for the album’s second single “Blooms” has been released, with a premiere on Culture Collide, and is available to share.
Nevermind I Love You began as an exploration of fears and frustrations – a cathartic outlet for Des Moines dream pop trio Annalibera‘s Anna Gebhardt, who found inspiration in the classical music she was studying at Drake University as well as in the catalogs of personal favorites like PJ Harvey and Aphex Twin. Almost as a reaction to the restrictive structure of school and the rules of classical singing, she found herself returning to her experience of growing up on a farm in Nebraska and incorporated into her work the free-spirited folk styles she grew up loving. Hear the album, streaming in full this week, at Exclaim!
Annalibera, comprised of Gebhardt plus guitarist Ryan Stier and bass player Phil Young, also released a video this week for the album’s second single, the 90’s tinged guitar-driven “Blooms.” Gebhardt wrote “Blooms” as she was falling for Stier, and the two ended up in a long-term relationship which ended last summer. The video, created by Deft and gleaned from tour footage shortly following their breakup, depicts the relationship in hindsight – still deeply connected yet no longer a couple, the tour footage captures the complexities of navigating the romantic aftermath, providing an affecting backdrop for a track concerned with the feeling of falling hard for someone, being seized with a fear of being swallowed up in love, of losing your identity.
Annalibera’s debut full-length Nevermind I Love You will be out on Sump Pump Records on vinyl and digital formats on March 24th.
Video: Annalibera – “Blooms”
Album Stream: Annalibera – “Nevermind I Love You” (at Exclaim!)
: Anna Gebhardt (vocals, keyboards), Phil Young (bass), Ryan Stier (guitar)
“I helped my dad – or probably more like accompanied him, which is helpful I guess because farming is so lonely – but yeah, I helped lay irrigation pipe and fix fences and feed cattle salt blocks in the pastures,” says Anna Gebhardt, frontwoman for Annalibera, about growing up on a farm five miles outside of Scotia, Nebraska, where there was one cop in the entire basically lawless county (“I have stories”) and zero shows to go to. “No one wrote songs or played in bands,” she reflects. In this outlying environment, Gebhardt obsessed over records. “They were my link to the world beyond my remote farm life.” Gebhardt is quick to mention how beautiful and experientially rich her agrarian upbringing was, but there was no avoiding the isolation that fueled an intense inner life and propelled her creative development.
Gebhardt pursues her interests obsessively, so upon leaving the farm, she studied voice at Drake University, voraciously absorbing song structures and vocal techniques, synthesizing her love for Mozart’s balanced forms with her blossoming interest in the other-worldly songwriting of Kate Bush, Bjork and PJ Harvey and the inventive electronic explorations of Aphex Twin, all of whom she would eventually site as influences (“osmosis-style”) on her own work. She started writing music in an old house that she was living in across from the Drake fine arts center. “Lots of space and wood floors and great light – we had good times, like poor college student do. In between studies and adventures and hanging out with boys, the flood of songs and ideas was constant. Melodies came, the lyrics pretty complete. I’d just open up and there they were.”
After testing the waters with a 3-song self-titled EP of dark and airy electro-pop in 2013, Gebhardt was surprised by the strong response to her material. Annalibera was offered a spot at 80/35 (headlined by David Byrne & St. Vincent, Wu-Tang Clan, Yeasayer, Deerhunter) which was covered by QRO Mag and Tiny Mix Tapes, and recorded a Daytrotter session. On the strength of this scant teaser buoyed by Gebhardt’s celestial vocals, Annalibera was highlighted by Paste Magazine as one of Iowa’s best offerings, “coarse and comforting, like tender folk and growling rock streaming together into a softened storm,” and their debut is the most highly anticipated Iowa release of 2015 according to local culture outlet DSMINB, with Des Moines Music Coalition predicting that “they’ll be everybody’s favorite band this time next year.”
Annalibera’s debut full length Nevermind I Love You is set for release on Sump Pump Records on vinyl and digital formats on March 24th. Recorded and mixed at Wabi Sound in Des Moines by Phil Young and mastered by Carl Saff, the record captures re-recorded versions of all 3 songs from the S/T EP, in addition to 5 more songs. Gebhardt is joined by Ryan Stier (The River Monks) on guitar and Phil Young (Tires) on bass.
“For some of us, the search for true love is laced with a lot of confusion – and lies disguised as love. That’s what I’m talking about,” reveals Gebhardt about the debut album and its themes of love and fear. “Nevermind I Love Youis me calling myself out, and anyone else who has done this too, for hiding behind ‘love’. For the act of ignoring whatever’s important in the name of love, justifying treating yourself, others, or the world badly.” Nevermind I Love You acts as a retrospective foghorn through Gebhardt’s search for meaningful, fulfilling relationships and the pitfalls that come before, during and after them. “It’s about how we say, ‘Let’s not deal with our bullshit. Let’s stay safe and keep doing this the wrong way because we’re scared, okay? Because I can just say I love you and we feel better for a second’.”
Nevermind I Love You:
01 Moving Song
02 Battle World
04 Black Cat White Cat
Photo credit: Bruce Bales)
“A musical magpie, arms full of sounds and styles as she exits a darker, foreboding forest and into the calming morning sunshine.” – Jeff Milo, Paste Magazine
“Beautifully moody…slow-burning mesh of synths…carefully plucked guitar swirl overhead.” – The Wild Honey Pie
“The kind of creativity (or bored experimentation) that can only stem from big yards and big skies.” – Tiny Mix Tapes
“An eerie and intimate ambiance…seduces on the strength of [Gebhardt’s] searing alto and dreamy imagism.” –KDHX
“[‘Blooms’] glides along like a giant bubble wand dragged through a clear spring day, tinged with the mystifying effects of a crush.” – Culture Collide
“Gebhardt’s vocals soared powerfully and the band drifted in and out of nice, melodic grooves.” – QRO Mag
“Nothing stopping Annalibera from blowing up in a big way this year.” – Eleven Music Magazine
“Holding everything together…singer Anna Gebhardt’s soaring, searing voice.” – Fingertips
“One of the most spellbindingly beautiful, assured and astonishing debut albums… in quite some time.” – The VPME
“The hooks, Gebhardt’s lilting voice, emerge as immediately singable.” – Geoff Nelson, 32 ft/sec
“Annalibera is a fresh music act…a classically-trained singer with a collegiate background in opera.” – BIRP.fm
“Our track of the week, the tune for the blizzard, sounds like that: a crygasm.” – Audio Femme
“Annalibera are an Iowa based dream pop outfit that are turning heads on the interwebs.” – No Country For New Nashville
“Impossibly gorgeous vocals and devastating delivery…incredibly accomplished and affecting first effort.” –Aimless Skylarking
“Annalibera’s music carries a far more polished and mature character than what you’d expect from such a young group.” – Adam Montufar, Des Moines Music Coalition