Here's a tune I'm digging lately. It's the live version of "Turn It Around" by Brooklyn's Lucius.
This band recently made their Dig debut with the video of "Don't Just Sit There" in the first Weekly Roundup of 2013. Nothing against their recorded music, but Lucius seems to elevate their game in a live setting. I was quite taken with the video performance of "Don't Just Sit There" and I prefer this live recording of "Turn It Around." Not that it isn't layered at all, but it strips away some of the textures from the EP version, in the process becoming more streamlined and urgent. There is something about the initial repeating harmony, clattering percussion, and the horns that situates my mental images in the Old West, which I like. Also, the rhythmic picking and strumming of the guitars and bass evoke the sense of being on horseback. The rawness of the vocals and roughness of the drumming both make the song feel gritty and space things out, like a big ol' desert.
The heightened organic approach here makes the lyrics more powerful. The song has a clever dual meaning. The title phrase "turn it around," specifically refers to the need to use the proper end of a telescope. If you can see anything that way, you would suspect it would be the opposite of seeing great distances; it would be much more myopic and limited. Meanwhile, it sounds like the girl has a lot more problems than just knowing how to use the telescope, and the broader theme of trying to turn her life and gain some perspective emerges. In this live take, the whole band feels more invested in the girl's plight, or more acutely aware of its strife. Or at the very least, it has a more palpable sense of energy.
The EP version is still good and, with three other quality tracks, is worth picking up. Lucius is playing SXSW now if anyone in Austin is reading, and for the NYC people, they will play the Knitting Factory on April 5th.