May 29, 2019
If you have not heard Erica Rhodes’s comedy, you have the perfect excuse to dive in on June 18, when her new album, <em>Sad Lemon</em>, comes out. Rhodes has been performing in some fashion since she was a kid, modeling at five and playing the voice of Garrison Keillor’s conscience on <em>Prairie Home Companion</em> at ten. She was a dancer as a child, then dedicated herself to playing cello before discovering acting and attending the Atlantic Theater Conservatory. That’s where she got some advice from David Mamet, that she needed to fix her voice if she was ever going to have a career, an experience that wound up as the subject of a joke on the new album. Turns out, she says, he was right.
If Rhodes’ voice, high-pitched and friendly-sounding, was a liability in acting, it’s an asset in comedy. It allows her to speak honestly about subjects like aging, living alone, and revising your life’s expectations and keep the mood light. There’s a natural buoyancy in her stand-up. And she writes smart stuff. When you’re thirty, you start talking about how you’re old, she says. Then when you’re forty and realize you really are old, you realize you could have been young for an extra ten years. Her mother is relieved that she never had to face abuse by Harvey Weinstein. “She’s like, ‘I know you weren’t ‘cause I told your father, if she had been, she’d be a lot more successful.’”
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1OZhcCOvsCs" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<em>Sad Lemon</em> is Rhodes’ first comedy album, but it is the work of a seasoned performer. The jokes are tight, the performance is loose, and you get to know some of who Rhodes is through her material. And she has only been doing stand-up comedy for roughly six-and-a-half years. Rhodes says she is not afraid to fail, a hallmark of any artist who wants to improve in their craft, and that has allowed her an accelerated growth rate as a comedian. She also loves language – as illustrated by her grammar material on the album – and that doesn’t hurt either. We covered her beginnings in show business, acting in horror movies, and he dedication to her true craft, stand-up comedy.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/okkyMrh2j-c" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Look for her Sad Lemon on June 18. You can find out more about her on her website are <a href="http://ericarhodescomedy.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">ericarhodescomedy.com</a>, or on <a href="https://twitter.com/ericarhodes" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Twitter under @ericarhodes</a>.
Our featured track this week is “Daylight Matters” from the new Cate Le Bon album <em>Reward</em>, which is out as of May 24 on the Mexican Summer label. When I first listened to this, to me, it had a kind of breezy, summer song vibe. If you’re listening casually, responding to the laidback groove and Le Bon’s airy vocals as she sings, “I love you, I love you, I love,” you might be forgiven for thinking this is a nice feel good track. If you’re listening a little closer, you hear Le Bon is singing, “I love you, but you’re gone/If I’m never going to see it again/It’s too late now/Your money’s lent/Dreams I’ve had and never shared/Sacrificed/The daylight matters.” There’s a wistfulness that tugs at your heart. Take a look at the video, as well, which opens on a concrete building on what looks like a snow-laden field. A few shots later, you find out that it’s a barren beach at low tide. Le Bon wanders around in a bright red hoodie, the brown grass turning momentarily green as she passes. It’s a groovy, playful lament.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WjduOTMn9dw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Le Bon is heading out on tour in support of the album in June, and you can find the dates on her website at <a href="http://www.catelebon.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">catelebon.com</a>, and follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/CateLeBon" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Twitter under @catelebon</a>.