Sponsored link
Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Sponsored link

Arts + CultureMusicNew Music: Lianne La Havas' 'Live at the Roundhouse'...

New Music: Lianne La Havas’ ‘Live at the Roundhouse’ brings the healing vibes

Just in time for your 2021 refresh, La Havas proves that—yes!—the Joni Mitchell comparisons are appropriate.

London-based guitar and vocalist/goddess Lianne La Havas showed up as an ointment this past, terrible summer. Listening to new music felt like a low priority in comparison to securing a durable supply of cleaning wipes. But she administered retro ‘70s folk-soul pop that cuts through all the glitz blabber and schmaltzy pretense, and hit you with truth. Painful at times—like life—La Havas’ work brought faith, decency, and compassion to her arrangements.

She became part of my auditory elevation. One look at that toothy, endearing smile underneath all that beautiful thick, curly, natural black hair on her self-titled album cover from this summer, you automatically get the alert; this is a safe space. 

Case in point; I sent a random playlist mix to a friend who was cleaning her apartment in preparation to move during COVID this summer, and La Havas’ cover of Radiohead’s ”Weird Fishes” knocked ol’ girl on her ass while cleaning a moldy refrigerator. Now, that’s power.

According to lore, teenaged Lianne La Havas would listen to Thom Yorke and the boys on her MP3 player while shuttling around London. Fast-forward a decade later, she expedited her cover of “Weird Fishes” from Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows in one day at the first recording session with her own band. Here was the dose of humanity we could all relate to. 

So just in time for a 2021 refresh on everything, Lianne La Havas has a new EP. Live at the Roundhouse features five tracks she performed during a livestream concert at London’s Roundhouse venue in July. It delivers the stripped-down guitar and songwriter deluxe oeuvre at which she’s a master, and makes for a gallant reminder for what is at stake in the world right now. The power of live performance has never been so healing.

La Havas opens with the easy-breezy “Seven Times,” the sweeping account of a break-up in the works. It’s an engaging fusion of folk-pop introspection and acoustic soul vibrancy. I want to be in the audience witnessing that vulnerability—not to mention, seeing her send dude off, vocally. “You didn’t pay your rent/so I guess you’ll be leaving” kicks off the song with an understated rhythmic guitar accompaniment. It’s the usual guitar technical sorcery she works with—YES, the Joni Mitchell comparisons are appropriate. 

Couple that with the scratchy-calm voice that can go from fireplace-comfy sweater mode to full “bearing my haunted soul” canon blaring at 11. These acoustic, twanged up, R&B arrangements, the ones you almost feel guilty about hearing because they come from her actual life, hardships. They get woven into these narratives, take up space in your frontal lobe. Yeah mang, that’s what I miss. I thank Lianne for the timely reminder.

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.
Sponsored link
Sponsored link

Top reads

No, Walgreens isn’t closing stores because of massive shoplifting in SF

The Agenda: Protecting tenants from predatory ADUs, where will people tossed of our SIP hotels go, and the start of local redistricting.

School Board recall election set; Assembly candidates could run four times

Plus: Some very sketchy moves by signature gatherers for Boudin recall effort.

Welcome to BEST OF THE BAY 2021!

Our 46th annual Readers' Poll winners are here, from Best Burrito and Best Politician to Best Sweets Shop and Best Bike Store.

More by this author

Bring the noise: Fall’s best albums, part one

Autumn sweet spot: Our list of phenomenal recent releases, from DijahSB, Damu the Fudgemunk, Alicia Walter, and more.

Madame X-ed: A second listen to early Madonna

As her new concert movie streams, harking back to when young Madge was the sound of the NYC streets.

Under the Stars: Ready for a show? Björk, Dehd, One Found Sounds announce local gigs

Plus new releases for days, like the keytar majesty of London's Los Bitchos and their latest single "Las Panteras."
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED