When: Fri., Jan. 17, 3 p.m. 2014
Singer-songwriter Jordan Lee, mastermind of the band Mutual Benefit, might seem like a man unmoored: he’s lived in Ohio, Austin, and Boston, and on Facebook he lists his current location as “NYC sometimes.” Lee recorded much of Mutual Benefit’s 2013 debut full-length, Love’s Crushing Diamond (Other Music), while staying with a friend in Saint Louis, but its luminescent, richly detailed post-Sufjan indie-folk sounds like it was made in a cozy bungalow with the help of a tight-knit circle of neighbors. Lee is certainly grounded in a community, even if he isn’t grounded in a place, and his buddies helped out no matter where they lived. He enlisted a dozen folks to add vocal harmonies, tap hand drums, and collect field recordings, and the backing musicians help the music sparkle and float. When Pitchfork interviewed Lee last month, he said there used to be Casio strings on Love’s Crushing Diamond, but he replaced them after he met violinist Jake Falby—and I have a hard time imagining the lovely, delicate “Advanced Falconry” without Falby’s grand, weeping violin. In fact this album is about the sound of friends helping out: the scrappy, almost symphonic feel of Love’s Crushing Diamond wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without the contributions of the crowd that passed through Lee’s intimate sessions. This show is part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival. Mutual Benefit also plays tonight at Lincoln Hall. —Leor Galil Thin Hymns opens.