Infinite Shuffle

November 8, 2009

2 – Lovers

Filed under: L, Portland — assman41 @ 12:01 am

I stumbled across Lovers totally by chance. I was paying my first-ever visit to Las Vegas in the winter of 2009, and my friend and I were looking for something to do one night and, after narrowing down the rather slim pickin’s, headed to the Beauty Bar for a show. We apparently got there early — at least before they started charging a cover — and sat down at the bar next to some people who, as it turned out, were in the opening band.


They eventually began setting up their equipment and doing a sound check in which they kept repeating the opening strains of what turned out to be “Igloos for Ojos,” the opening track on their latest release, I Am the West.


At first, I thought they were having trouble with their equipment and had just given up, but then they eventually took the stage for real. I have to admit, my expectations weren’t too high considering the situation — some random band playing in the middle of the week at a bar away from the main thoroughfares, and they weren’t even the main act.


But my fears quickly subsided as the lead singer, a shoegazing waif named Carolyn Berk, unleashed one of the most amazing voices I’d ever heard in person. The fact that the entire venue was the size of a large conference room and our perch at the bar was just a few feet from the stage only added to the power of her voice.


Including a drummer and guitarist, the ladies of Lovers churned out numerous slow, dreamy songs of love and heartbreak and spiced it up with an electronic tinge.


If I had to sum up Lovers’ music in one word, it would be “ethereal.” Listening to Berk sing, you can hear the influences of Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega and Mazzy Star.


This is how her voice was described in the iTunes review of Lovers’ second album, The Gutter and the Garden:


Her slightly off-key timbre and breathy, sometimes volatile delivery add an emotional depth to arrangements that are already immersed in a sea of pastoral gloom.


By the end of the show, we had become Lovers converts. My friend immediately headed to the side of the stage to buy a copy of the latest album, a CD that I would later latch onto.


The band has produced four albums since forming in 2001. Lovers has basically been a vehicle for Berk, who’s been the only mainstay of the group. She’s had different backing members on each album and made a move from one indie music hot spot — Athens, Ga. — to another — Portland, Ore. — between the release of the group’s second and third albums.


Since moving to Oregon, the group hasn’t done much touring outside of the Pacific time zone. So, for now, I’ll have to enjoy them via the internet.


If you visit their MySpace page, you can hear selections from all four of their albums. Between that page and their official website, you can hear the first six tracks from their most recent release, I Am the West, including their first-ever video.


All of those songs are solid, but rather than try to pick a favorite, I figured I’d attach a song that can’t be found at either site. So below is the seventh track from the latest album.


Lovers – Imaginary Women



  1. […] Lovers … “I Am the West” (2008) … I absolutely fell in love with this band when I saw it live in Las Vegas. The dreamy, almost haunting vocals are enough to give you goosebumps. … Favorite track: “Wrestling Horses” […]

    Pingback by Best of The Aughts – My list « My Tunes — January 16, 2010 @ 12:29 am

  2. […] (tie) Lovers (Beauty Bar, Las Vegas, Jan. 29, […]

    Pingback by My favorite live shows « Infinite Shuffle — April 17, 2012 @ 12:25 am

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