Friday, February 5, 2016 ♦ 8:00 PM
4544 N Lincoln Ave · Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall · 773.728.6000
A collaboration between Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) and Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Au Pair strikes a balance between classic songcraft and cheeky experimentation on their debut album, One-Armed Candy Bear. The core of the album consists of the duo singing and playing into a single microphone like a Memphis Sun session. But then they take some strange turns: body percussion, feedback loops, avant guitar, Kraut rock touches, anything goes in the world of Au Pair. This openness was encouraged and enhanced by producer and secret weapon Brian Haran, who recorded the album at his studio in Durham, NC.
Gary and Django met in Chicago in 2013 where they were performing as a part of a “Big Star's Third” concert, which celebrated the influential band's music with original drummer Jody Stephens, Mike Mills (REM) and many others. It was a fitting start to a musical friendship, as the Third record similarly takes catchy songs and throws them over the cliff into beautiful weirdness and existential dread. Gary and Django's first song, “King of the Valley,” written in a hotel room in North Carolina, tells the story of a football player with a traumatic head injury. “Sullivan's Ghost” takes on the voice of brilliant but curmudgeonly Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, while “One-Eyed Crier” unfolds like a lost Salinger story.
Django Haskins began his songwriting career in the clubs of New York in the mid-90's. After a string of critically acclaimed releases, he moved to Durham, NC, where he now lives and works. His band, The Old Ceremony, has produced six studio albums (the latest, on Yep Roc Records, features REM's Mike Mills and was produced by Big Star Third collaborator Mitch Easter) and has toured the US, Canada and Europe. Hailed as a “a pop stylist with a quick lyrical wit and a card shark's finesse in delivering a hook,” Django found a kindred spirit in Gary, and the two have been churning out twisted gems ever since.
Gary Louris is best known for singing, writing and playing guitar with Minneapolis' legends The Jayhawks, whose career blossomed from indie roots to international prominence. Concurrent with his time in the Jayhawks, Louris was a charter member of Golden Smog, which at various times also included members of Soul Asylum, Wilco, the Replacements, and - full circle - Big Star.
Au Pair began as a happy accident, developed into a laboratory of joyful experimentation, and now with One Armed Candy Bear you can hear first-hand what happens when two vital songwriters take the odd way home.