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Swedish American Hall

2174 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94114

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Tall Heights live in San Francisco at Noise Pop Festival 2020!

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Noise Pop Festival 2020

Tall Heights at Swedish American Hall

With support from Victoria Canal, Lily Kershaw

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

This show is All Ages / Doors at 7:00 PM. All sales are final.

Tall Heights have relentlessly built a career from the ground up. Starting as buskers on the streets of Boston and now performing in packed venues across North America, Europe, and beyond, the duo has distilled their sound in an organic and unselfconscious way. The unmistakable DNA of their music draws on many elements, but the blend of their two distinct voices, in both harmony and unison, is what elevates it and separates it from the pack.

Hailing from the Boston area, Paul Wright and Tim Harrington met each other in their hometown of Sturbridge through Tim’s older brother. The friendship blossomed in high school when they both took up the guitar and began working on music together. It didn’t take long for them to see the potential hidden in these casual jam sessions. As Paul recalls, “Tim transformed from kid brother to musical collaborator over the course of a summer.”

Tall Heights is now set to release two highly-anticipated singles, ‘Keeps Me Light’ and ‘Under Your Skin’, both mixed by Grammy-nominated engineer Damien Lewis. Following on the success of their viral single ‘Spirit Cold’, this new material captures a similar authentic and meaningful energy, but also shows a side we have not yet seen of the pair. The self-produced project, recorded in their simple home studio, captures that raw moment between albums, delivering some of their most honest and heartfelt work to date. Written and recorded in a reflective lull between hectic periods of touring, the new tracks reaffirm Tall Heights’ commitment to a singular sound and an equally rare friendship.

‘Under Your Skin’ rides a wave of ethereal harmony, creating a mesmeric atmosphere of nostalgia. The introspective track, which features additional vocals from Berklee College of Music’s Upper Structure, is a song for the next generation. It was written when Harrington was expecting his first child and completed soon after his son was born. Around that same time, Wright's brother had a daughter too. It was a moment of reckoning for Tall Heights, a moment to peek over the partition into posterity. In their words, “It's a reflection on living. It's about the joy of welcoming a new human into existence, and the heartache of bringing them into a frightening, twisted world. We liked the word play of "under your skin" being both a reference to blood relation, AND how dads get under their kids' skin”.

With ‘Keeps Me Light’, they explore the sense of safety felt in friendship. Even as humankind marches on into darkness, there will always be a safe space in the heart of a friend. The track showcases a rich string arrangement, additional a cappella vocals from Upper Structure, and features Harrington’s parlor-sized resonator guitar, which gives it a bluesy, almost Southern grit. Together, the two tracks give audiences an intimate look at a poignant and potent time in the lives of both artists.

Combining Paul’s lifetime of classical training, Harrington’s spontaneous artistic instincts, and the prismatic union of their unique voices, Tall Heights’ sonic imprint is in a category all its own.

Tall Heights’ recordings have amassed over 275 million streams. They regularly serve as Ben Folds’ backing band, and have toured alongside CAKE, Judah & the Lion, Colony House, and The Paper Kites. They’ve also performed on both Conan in 2016 and CBS Saturday Morning in 2018. ‘Under Your Skin’ and ‘Keeps Me Light’ are due for release fall 2019.

Victoria Canal

As a singer, songwriter, and activist, Victoria Canal’s voice powers a growing discography of alternative pop anthems as well as myriad of social causes. Since her emergence in 2015, the songstress has quietly impacted both culture and music, chronicled by CNN Español in a one-hour special entitled Proyecto ser Humano. She would also be tapped by Michael Franti for a marathon of touring, enlisted by Nike as a rep and model for the FlyEase Air Jordan 1 designed for adaptive athletes, and streamed more than 10 million times to date.

Born in Munich, Canal’s international upbringing positioned her to speak on a global platform. A proud “third culture kid,” she lived everywhere from Shanghai, Tokyo, Amsterdam, London, and Dubai to Atlanta, New York, and Forth Worth. In Atlanta, she developed a creative partnership with legendary vocal coach Jan Smith [Drake, Usher], who produced Canal’s Into The Pull EP in 2016. The partnership later yielded “City Shoes,” which amassed 7.5 million Spotify streams as of 2019. At the end of her second semester at New York University, Michael Franti serendipitously invited her on tour via Instagram message. She went on to grace hallowed stages such as Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Apollo, and The Kennedy Center in addition to supporting Lawrence, Emily King, and Mac Ayres, among others.

Impressively, she managed to do all of this having been born with one arm as a result of Amniotic Band Syndrome. The LGBTQ, Spanish-American, and differently-abled songstress draws on an impassioned positivity. Teaming up with collaborator Martin Luke Brown, her forthcoming 2020 EP emanates boundless confidence with her inspiring take on pop music, beginning with the lead single “Drama”.

Lily Kershaw

Imagine the mind’s farthest wanderings made physical, formed into worlds that represent our internal and external expressions. Mythologically speaking, people have been naming this duality for ages: utopia and dystopia, heaven and earth, Olympus and the underworld. Now imagine this concept distilled in an eleven track, thirty-six minute album, and you arrive at Arcadia, the latest offering by songstress Lily Kershaw. Weaving warmer analog sounds like organ, harpsichord and guitar with cinematic force, Arcadia is Kershaw’s most intimate release to date. But the strongest tool Kershaw wields is her voice, both in the simmering ferocity it carries and the poetry it speaks. Though the concept behind the record is epic to say the least, Kershaw is ultimately telling a story of acceptance, both of herself and the great mystery that is the universe. “At the same time that I’m existing in existential crisis there’s also this part of me that is fully in acceptance of the reality of being alive and loves it.” she says. “That acceptance also allowed me to be more intimate. Whether people realize it or not, I feel like I’m revealing a lot.”

But the path to self-acceptance is not without its struggles. A self-described “compulsive songwriter,” Kershaw has been making music for most of her life. Constantly in the studio, Kershaw has released a record, an EP and a slew of singles over the last six years, including breakout hit “As it Seems.” But if there is anything she has gained with the release of each new record, it is trust. “I think initially when I was making music, I would go into the room and believe that whoever I was with knew better than me,” says Kershaw. “I’ve been writing music for so long and I’ve been recording music since I was seventeen-years-old and I’m twenty eight — that’s a lot of years. I’ve learned I need to trust my gut when I’m on to something.” That process of intuition was integral to the making of Arcadia. Partnering with producer and artist Ben Cooper, Kershaw notes that he “echoed very similar beliefs about life and creativity.” She continues, “as we walked into the studio, I realized that to work with him and to do it well would mean that the most important thing is that I be myself.”

It is fitting then, that listening to an inner voice was the catalyst for making the record: “At the beginning of the year, I got obsessed with the word Arcadia. It was looping in my brain, and as I was driving one day, it was just too loud. So I yelled out, ‘You want me to move to Arcadia!?’ And then I became really calm and some part of my brain said, ‘no it’s a record. Go make a record called Arcadia.’” As Kershaw began conceptualizing the world of Arcadia, its counterpart also took shape in the song “Myth of New York. “If Arcadia is the immortal, then ‘Myth of New York’ is the mortal,” she says. Hence, the record is divided into two worlds, with half the songs existing in the first world, and the other half in the latter. She describes her vision saying, “If the first half had imagery, it would be a lush idealistic place and the second half of the record would exist somewhere on the edges of a dystopic city that has fallen.” But think of it less like an album split in two, and more like the image of Ouroboros, the serpent devouring its own tail. Because, as Kershaw points out, both the first and last notes of the record are the same, presenting itself as an infinite loop. While this might sound esoteric, Kershaw presents snapshots of her psyche in terms we can all understand, like love, heartbreak and fear.

On “Always and Forever,” Kershaw uses the metaphor of a bad relationship to explore her reservations around the concept of time and infinity. And while Kershaw is primarily known as a folk-pop artist, she consistently pushes the limitations of that label. Originally written as a guitar-based tune with friend Emma Roberts, Kershaw instinctively decided to add synth, creating an 80s sonic texture without succumbing to any of the tropes found in today’s new wave nostalgia.

Next comes “The Sea,” another co-write, this time with fellow singer-songwriter Jon Bryant. Like most of Kershaw’s writing sessions, the song came together quickly. “It felt like it already existed because even if we didn’t know what the other person was going to sing, we would just follow and harmonize. So there was a way in which we were both very tied in and connected from the start.” While the instrumentation is sparse, the song’s undercurrent feels as vast and deep as its title. A “classic lover’s tale” as Kershaw describes it, “The Sea’s” distinction is the harmony between Bryant and Kershaw, despite the underlying sadness that permeates when they sing, “when we’re older… the sea, it was all in our minds.”

Transitioning out of the Arcadian half of the record, we hit “Soft Dark Nothing” which starts with, “Goodnight, goodbye, good luck, don’t cry. It’s the edge of it all…all my friends, at the end of the world, I hope to see you again, it’s the end of this time, it’s the end of our time.” While lyrically that may seem bleak, musically it ends ambiguously. Starting off with just piano and voice, the song crescendos to a resolution that never fully settles. It feels like a fitting end of one world, and the beginning of another. But shifting between these universes, there is no sharp auditory contrast that defines the two halves of the record. Instead, the concept is found in narratives and sounds that mirror each other. For instance, the use of the harpsichord is a reference to its popularity in the baroque era and its resurgence in 1960s pop music. Heavily used in “Fears Become Wishes,” “Parallel Lives” and “Here’s To Us,” Kershaw says, “For me, it’s a reminder that everything cycles through.”

Towards the end, we find Kershaw at her most raw on “Now and Then,” and as the penultimate song, it reflects the relationship in the album’s second track, “Always and Forever.” “There are a lot of endings currently happening in my life,” says Kershaw. “And all of a sudden it was like this thing hurt so bad and the only way out is through.” Stripped to nothing but vocals, pump organ and guitar, the track is Kershaw’s love letter to the people in her life, despite their absence or the way things ended. In a way, “Now and Then” is the perfect summary of the record’s essence. Like the Ouroboros, there is creation out of destruction, life out of death. In Kershaw’s words, Arcadia is ultimately about “the promise that there is no real end, that everything is possible. This record was not born because I was happy and comfortable. This record exists because I was in pain. The most uncomfortable, dark things can actually have the promise of a lot of hope and growth.” As Kershaw beautifully states in “Always and Forever,” “In the darkness, I feel holy.”

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Swedish American Hall

2174 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94114

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