Music for Art's Sake
Little Lonely plays Silverlake Lounge Friday night
By Bliss 02/05/2015
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In 2013, when Julie Cain started performing as Little Lonely in support of her album of the same name, it seemed to new fans that she’d emerged from nowhere with a fully developed sound and persona. That, she says, was “quite intentional.”
“I had been performing around under my real name and fine-tuning my song catalogue,” she recalls. “You can get to this point of analysis paralysis with your material, and I wanted to find the right producer who could bring the sound to a recording that I had in my head. While I was bringing my songs out to audiences and figuring out how they landed, I met up with Sean Hoffman.”
She immediately connected with the Loch & Key guitarist’s playing and sensibility, and shortly thereafter they commenced recording. Hoffman introduced many of the warm sonic textures that defined Little Lonely’s poignant, sometimes whimsical sound — as well as the name that Cain ultimately assumed for her new project.
“I wanted to sing under another name,” she explains, “because I think it’s helpful to the listener to project onto an idea. ‘Little Lonely’: What does that mean? It evokes a feeling. It leaves room for listeners to explore my music rather than have it be about my personality.”
If that sounds like a conceptual artist’s approach to music, it is. Cain studied sculpture in college and worked with mixed media before staging her music, which straddles the Americana-indie-rock divide. Prior to Little Lonely, the native Midwesterner performed around LA as Bitsy Lee — an evolutionary phase she laughingly allows had “a lot of shtick involved,” thanks to the accent, costumes and red wig she adopted. Performing as Bitsy Lee showed her that audiences responded to her music. Becoming a parent convinced her to plunge ahead.
“When you become a parent you think about what you want your legacy to be; everything you’ve been afraid to do you can’t be afraid of, because you can’t be an example of fear for your child. So I put a lot of hard work and heart into the record.”
She’s started working on songs for her next album and, true to form she’s already contemplating how to present it.
“As musicians we have to reinvent the way we want audiences to experience our music. I love it when someone can think outside the box and come up with something like [PJ Harvey recording in public as an art installation]. I think you’ll see more of that kind of diversification.
“I think a whole awful lot about context, I mean constantly. At the end of the day I want to look into the eyes of somebody and know that I pierced their heart [laughs]. Y’know? That’s what I live for. Connecting on a human level.”
Little Lonely plays Silverlake Lounge, 2906 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 10 p.m. Friday,; Leggy Peggy, Ranger and Pi Jacobs also performing. Tickets: $8. Info: (323) 663-9636. Littlelonely.com, thesilverlakelounge.com