We generally don’t think too fondly of sleep-inducing art… However, that’s what Lenka was going for on her third LP, Shadows. In a recent chat with the Australian-born, New-York-residing singer/songwriter, she admits to me that she actually quite likes the notion of falling asleep to music and cites Sigur Ros, Iron & Wine, and Dark Side of the Moon as some of the favorite support acts to her dreams. The 11 tracks found on Shadows came about during Lenka’s pregnancy and her first months of motherhood and are meant as postmodern lullabies. Unlike the playfully quirky piano pop her first two LPs were best known for (Not that they didn’t also contain a bevy of ten-ton-truck balladry.), Shadows is far more mellow; its songs are hushed, whimsical life lessons (If you go back and listen closely to her first two albums, Lenka actually has always been quite the poignant popular philosopher, even if it was previously outshined by its neon candy shell. Not surprisingly, during our recent chat, Lenka admitted to me that, in general, her biggest inspiration is the natural world: “Nature is a big one for me. Nature itself and the ways artists have portrayed nature and the way humans use nature as a metaphor to explain the human experience.)
In addition to crafting a collection of songs that could help ease her workload as a mother, Shadows is also Lenka’s first independent release, something that she tells me had quite a bit to do with the writing and recording process: “I didn’t have anybody watching over my shoulder or breathing down my neck, trying to get me to be commercial sounding. It was a comfy, cozy process with songs that came about over time that I would record little bits and pieces of with different producers I love. I think it’s also a bit more indie.” Monday night, July 22nd, Lenka will be bringing these songs to life at her biggest Philadelphia headlining appearance yet, downstairs at World Café Live (which, let’s face it, is Madison Square Garden, compared to the M Room and North Star Bar). She tells me that we can expect, “A more mellow, folkier set,” going on to say, “I’ve put together a different lineup, with live strings and I don’t have horns or drums.” And while Lenka seems as though she’s happy to move on from some of her earlier work and indulge in her latest effort, she does tell me, “You’re not just going to hear the new songs, but we’ve also been reimagining older songs.” When I ask Lenka how she plans to spend the rest of 2013, she tells me that she has a remix EP in the works and at least one more music video, but that touring is her main priority: “I’m going to be on the road for much of the year.” I ask her if she has any particular hopes or goals. Her response: “I wanna surivive it without damaging my child too much… psychologically.