St. Lenox, he of the nasal baritone and piercingly observant quotidian lyrics, is back. His widely overlooked 2015 album 10 Songs About Memory and Hope was a favorite of mine for the way it deftly examined everything from the aimless thought processes of riding a long-distance bus to the devastating little details of cooking a meal alone after a breakup. With that project, singer Andy Choi, who is a lawyer by day, accomplished the rare feat of making music that felt divorced from any pretense.
His follow-up, Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, promises to take a more broadly autobiographical approach: The first single, "Thurgood Marshall," examines his experiences in law school through the lens of feeling inspired by the late Supreme Court Justice. The follow-up, "People From Other Cultures," which we're premiering the video for below, discusses the different perspectives he and his mother have, particularly in relation to fear. "You know when she was just a child / they had to hide in caves / and hush the babies so the enemies could not find them / I can't imagine what it's like to be a parent then / she's accustomed to the danger," Choi sings, in troubled amazement, his voice breaking under the lightest swatch of electronic filters.
"I said it's a different generation," he decides. It's not an easy song, but, like all of Choi's music, it's casually beautiful, particularly accompanied by the simple video, triptych that shows his mother preparing a meal as historical Korean War footage unravels above and Choi sings below.Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, out October 21, is tied to the occasion of Choi's father's 70th birthday. Look how cool the cover is! It divides into two halves, Domestic and Regional Politics, which explores Choi's own American experience, and International Relations, which focuses on his parents and his relationship with them. "People From Other Cultures" comes in the latter half. Listen to it and watch the video below.
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