*No copyright infringement intended. All rights to Sam Evian (Sam Owens) for video above.
“With sparse drips of sultry, enigmatic funk and disco, “I Need a Man” offers the sort of slow, feverish vibe that leaves you in a dreamlike state.” – Wild Honey Pie
“…captivating, a beguiling sway that pairs Owen’s delicate falsetto, somewhere between wounded and seductive, with dreamy guitar and twinkling keys.” – Streogum
“..lustful and cool, delivered stylishly through Sam Evian’s sweet falsetto.” – Mass Appeal
Premium is the glistening debut album from New York-based Sam Evian. Due to be released on September 30 via Saddle Creek, Sam describes the album as; “an analogue dream in a digital world.” Like flowing water, its cool surface entices and refreshes – then reveals hidden emotional depths. (from press release)
The music came together quickly when Sam found himself in what he calls, “a premium set of circumstances.” An engineer and producer as well as in-demand guitarist, Sam befriended the founders of Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studio,Eli Crews and the enigmatic and inspiring Shahzad Ismaily. After helping them to build and wire the studio, Sam explains how he found himself at the centre of a musical community; “I was surrounded by endlessly talented and fun musicians in a beautiful recording environment that I helped build. I felt confident and happy, so the music came together easily.” (from press release)
That musical community included the group that recorded Premium. The album’s nine songs reflect the casual, relaxed atmosphere Sam created for himself at Figure 8, gathering his friends to record in off hours, capturing moments of offhand inspiration and laughter.There was Austin Vaughn on drums (Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple), a long-time friend from North Carolina School of the Arts, and Brian Betancourt on bass (Hospitality, Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple). They were joined by Michael Coleman on keys, a prolific player and producer, as well as being Figure 8’s studio manager – as Sam adds; “Michael played and toured with Chris Cohen, who is my favorite living songwriter”. Whilst recording overdubs at New York’s legendary Magic Shop studios just before it closed, pedal steel was provided by Dan Iead (Cass McCoombs and many others. The finishing touches of Premium were some of the very last recordings in that room. Other guest performers include vocalists Cassandra Jenkins and Hannah Cohen, Shahzad Ismaily, Eddie Barbash (the saxophonist on the Colbert show) and Steve Marion(aka Delicate Steve). (from press release)
I was sent PREMIUM for an early listen by management Saddle Creek for Sam Evian, the new,solo project of Sam Owens with an album out September 30th on Saddle Creek Records. Sam also headlines the Brooklyn band Celestial Shore whom has been on the best of 2013 album list for Stereogum magazine. Sam recently had a song premiere for the new single “ I Need A Man” on Stereogum whom discussed that song in detail which has political references which you can read about more here and that I will talk about later in my album preview :
Sam recently released “I NEED A MAN
The album opens with “Sleep Easy” , a previously released single and music video above which is a dreamy track that is rather hypnotic and I have had on repeat .The music video features two motorcycle riders on a long back road which parallels the relaxed winding of this song which ends up the rider on the back sleeping in the video which I am sure and hope was a stunt.
As an intensely personal project, Premium is full of intimate anecdotes and glimpses of Sam’s domestic life in New York. “Golden Skull” is about a first date, and an early-morning drive to Coney Island. Premium’s first single, “Sleep Easy” is at once instantly recognizable and fresh, and it presents an intimate world of relationship and home:“Sometimes when it’s late I have to wait for the A train for an eternity. The E train lumbers by with its naive melody, reminding me that it can take me closer, but it can’t take me home. I’ve been in a relationship for three years. My partner is an extremely light sleeper. In my mind, I am delicate. In my mind, I am a dancer. The reality of our darkened apartment proves otherwise. “Sleep Easy’” is the ballet of my domestic inadequacy.” (from press release)
This class, solo album “PREMIUM” by Sam has nine tracks in all with those rich, soulful and dreamy vocals of Sam Evian( Sam Owens) weaving his way throughout each song. The next song “Cactus” continues along that dreamy, hypnotic way “ I am soaking up that water like a cactus” but this song has more cool soulful, electric guitar hooks that really draw me in and hold me there. The electric guitar has that way of forming a voice all its own. “Dark Love” has this slow, rock, dance vibe that drew me with just a tinge of psychedelic that brought just a bit more attitude and interesting trippy vocal holds at key moments in the song.
“ The song “Dark Love” presents a danceable vision of love at the apocalypse” (from press release)
“Big Car” goes quite well with the previous song “Dark Love” as it brings the continued slow, trippy elements but with a smoother vibe and that electric guitar comes back too at a few key moments in the song too !
And “Big Car” layers a classically irresistible guitar ode to driving with a distinct undercurrent of uneasy restlessness. As Sam elaborates, “I just remember wondering if I’d ever feel the same surreal freedom that I felt, flying across the bayou at 70 mph in my old Ford.” (from press release)
This is followed by “Carolina” has an almost two-minute instrumental start to an over four-minute song which has a relaxed, soulful vibe in which the instrumentals take the lead . It is always refreshing to see an artist not afraid to try new ideas and sometimes just allow the instruments to be the voice for a song.
The following song is the most recent feature was “I Need A Man” that has that slow psychedelic , floating rock vibe that I wouldn’t have guessed the background of this song without reading about the political references about stopping violence, etc on the artist press release and premiere over on Stereogum. It is often the strong, emotional ideas that will drive a singer to write and respect Sam for writing about an issue he felt needed to be heard as discrimination and/or violence is never ok with me.
“Other songs entwine the personal and explicitly political. For instance, “I Need A Man” calls for an end to the tyranny of ignorance, racism, sexism and violence, written after a number of stories of sexual abuse in the music industry. As Sam explains; “The last few months have made the narrative of this song more desperate as it relates to male offenders of all sorts.” (from press release)
The song that follows is the seventh song on the upcoming album “Premium” is a complete switch to a romantic love song with “Summer Running” which talks ….. Don’t be a fool, you have to show her that you’re real and true” which was my favorite line of this song . I quite loved this easy-going melting vocals and instrumentals of this song with some subtle electric guitar moments too . “Golden Skull” led flawlessly from “Summer Running” that almost sounded like a sequel to the previous song which also talked about love with more lazy, dreamy, vocals of Sam Evian which according to the artist it ‘is about a first date and an early morning drive to Coney Island.’ (see quote earlier )
This fantastically, rich, smooth and dreamy solo project album of Sam Evian’s PREMIUM closes with “Tear” which grabbed on to me right away “gravity rules and sometimes it takes awhile to drop …. one by one ” . This album is aptly named “PREMIUM” as each song is like a perfect summer day gliding down a lazy river chilling and dreaming small and big moments with Sam Evian’s voice capturing your imagination ! Lets all get out an pre-order PREMIUM now and you can connect with Sam over on Spotify now and/or pre-order over on Apple Music/Itunes due for release on Friday,September 30th with Saddle Creek Records. You can connect more with Sam on any of his social networks below and by the way I also recommend that you also check out the Brooklyn band he also headlines Celestial Shore as it is also quite lush too !
When you hear a stellar record from an artist you’ve never even heard of, it can feel like it fell out of the ether. Just dropped from space into your lap to complete you in a way you never knew you needed.That’s the feeling you’re left with when you listen to Sam Evian’s Premium, a dreamy pop rock record that is sublime from start to finish….Premium may be one of the most melodic albums you’ll hear all year.” – No Depression
SAM EVIAN – PREMIUM
Premium is filled with contrasts. With emotional depth and a thrilling combination of sounds, there are tears in the quiet moments, but also euphoria in liberating, classic American guitar music. Sam will be touring with Whitney and Teenage Fanclub in October. All dates below. (from press release)
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SEE SAM LIVE:
October 10: Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg (with Whitney)
October 11: New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom (with Whitney)
October 14: Montreal, QC – Ritz (with Whitney)
October 15: Toronto, ON – Adelaide Hall (with Whitney)
October 16: Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme (with Whitney)
October 18: Philadelphia, PA- World Cafe Live Downstairs (with Teenage Fanclub)
October 20: Cleveland , OH -Beachland Ballroom(with Teenage Fanclub)
October 21: Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge(with Teenage Fanclub)
October 22: Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe (with Teenage Fanclub)
October 23: Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon (with Teenage Fanclub)
October 25: Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch (with Teenage Fanclub)