DEAR NORA- human futures ORD-76
Release date: October 28, 2022
human futures introduction by Chris Cohen:
I’m a huge fan of whatever Katy Davidson makes for many reasons – including, but not limited to, their timelessly crafty melodies, the thoughtful and unique way they look at the world, and their willingness to go in whatever direction they feel, wherever their interest lies. Dear Nora, Katy’s band since 1999, could sound like anything (and it’ll always sound like Dear Nora). Katy reinvents themselves at any moment, yet there is always the familiar face of a friend, taking us on a musical trip we didn’t know we needed to go on until we did.
This time around, Katy and the Dear Nora crew bring us human futures, which is their first LP recorded in a commercial recording studio. There are new kinds of songs, old kinds of songs, there is still the voice of beauty and sanity that I’ve come to know and love over the years. On songs like “scrolls of doom,” sedona,” and “fruitful streams,” Katy leans more into the producer’s role than that of singer-songwriter – coaxing bandmates Greg Campanile (drums), Nicholas Krgovich (piano/synth) and Zach Burba (bass/synth/drums) through chord changes, beats, and stylistic blends, while writing vocal melodies on the spot. Everyone brings the most interesting parts out of each other and themselves. Here, Katy’s more like the ‘top-line’ writer as it’s called in the commercial music world where they work their day job as an original music producer for sync licensing. In this role on human futures, Katy composes the melodies, harmonies and lyrics, almost treating the other elements as if they were found – making this Dear Nora record much more collaborative than past ones and particularly contemporary in its process. There are also classic jams in the traditional songwriter mode like title track “human futures” and “mothers and daughters” that Katy brought into the studio more finished, but were then re-envisioned by the band. Even these have a different kind of sheen to them – something like Speak-era Roches and certainly bearing a resemblance to Dear Nora members' other projects (such as Nicholas Krgovich and Zacy’s or iji). “flag (into the fray)” is a different kind of collaboration, written long-distance with Greta Kline of the band Frankie Cosmos. It’s made up of two different verses that gradually merge into one, in a kind of call and response between songwriters of two different generations.
To me, the great strength of Dear Nora’s music is that it takes stock of its time and place and captures something that we can revisit later. The lyrics on human futures are written from multiple perspectives but they come from a world of people who travel great distances and are faced with too many options. Katy writes about our being incessantly surveilled and barely tethered to the physical universe and the life around us. Observation of the everyday and of our endlessly referential pop culture serves as a way to understand personal experience through poetic language – in this way human futures is a continuation of Davidson’s work from the early 2010s (e.g. California Lite by Key Losers) through Dear Nora’s 2018 LP Skulls Example, but for me the effect is very different. Instead of laughing at what is absurd and feeling concerned, I get what feels more like sadness or even grief. It seems like the world depicted in these songs will continue to become more unrecognizable and more unlivable – but this is also tempered by my feeling of being understood by this music, and that life itself, shadows and all, is still beautiful and mysterious in the eyes of Katy Davidson and Dear Nora.
- scrolls of doom (2:02)
- sedona (2:21)
- shadows (4:00)
- flowers fading (3:21)
- human futures (1:41)
- sinaloan restaurant (2:11)
- fruitful streams (3:13)
- airbnb cowboy (2:38)
- we’re going down (2:27)
- mothers and daughters (2:10)
- flag (into the fray) (2:06)
- five months on the go (5:39)
700 high quality, 160g LPs in extra heavyweight, full color, reverse board jackets with fancy printing & 11" x 22", two-sided, full color, fold-out lyric sheet inserts. Album design by Actual Source. 12 tracks, 34 minutes.
400 copies on "Skull" opaque natural vinyl
300 copies on classic black vinyl
All orders include a digital download of the entire album, delivered on October 28, 2022.
Vinyl ships April 2023
human futures is distributed by The Business.