Emily Lacy Raises Political Awareness -- and Bail Money
When Occupy L.A. was raided by police in late November, Emily Lacy saw lots of her friends arrested. To raise money for their bail, the 32-year-old Alhambra folk musician performed a show at Machine Project gallery in Echo Park. It was all part of what she called her "Occupy Music" events, Lacy says with a toothy grin.
The disbanding of the protesters at City Hall broke her heart. But the events did inspire her new album, Rise, which is available tomorrow, Wed., Jan. 11, as a free download. The work's six original songs about protest help document the Occupy movement in a way that the media failed to, she says. "[Rise] is a political exorcism through sound and singing," she promises.
Lacy's previous work was slower paced, but Rise is loud and fast; her guitar work is accented by an orchestra of fuzz and distortion. "It was important to me to play with a dirtier, more kaleidoscopic sound so that the songs veered into a visceral space," she says, betraying her background as a visual and performance artist who has done sound-based installations everywhere from LACMA to the Whitney Museum in New York.
Her most powerful weapon, however, remains her voice, which somehow combines Joni Mitchell's impassioned vibrato with Elvis' charismatic delivery. "We won't wave a gun/To speak, to speak," she cries in the title track, which is about peaceful protest and references the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords a year ago. "Riches" and "Goodbye" feature trembling vocal runs and haunting harmonies.