CMJ Artist Spotlight: Mitski


Mitski at Bowery Ballroom

Singer-songwriter Mitski Miyawaki has three albums under her belt her first two, 2012’s “LUSH” and 2013’s “Retired From Sad, New Career in Business” and her major 2014 release “Bury Me at Makeout Creek.” While initially she took a more experimental and orchestral approach to her songwriting craft, “Makeout Creek” shows a major shift into the indie/punk DIY scene fostered in New York, especially through her conservatory education at SUNY Purchase.

From the most obvious of the sonic changes in Mitski’s music, her third record blurs the lines of romantic and tragic, most encapsulated by its Simpsons-referencing title. On “Townie” the singer pines  “and I want a love that falls as fast /as a body from the balcony, and /I want a kiss like my heart is hitting the ground /I’m holding my breath with a baseball bat /though I don’t know what I’m waiting for, /I am not gonna be what my daddy wants me to be”, a resonating sentiment for many young people still finding their passions in the world.

Her live performances see her accompanied by two other musicians, Mitski on bass with a drummer and guitarist, taking some of the more grand arrangements into a more minimal setup. While avoiding some of her tracks on her initial releases for fairly clear reasons, the live versions of “I Want You” and “Class of 2013” see the singer enter a range of catharsis unparalleled by any of her contemporaries.

Recently, Mitski sat down with Loren Diblasi of MTV to talk about her currently untitled fourth record stating:

MTV News: What’s changed in your new record? Does it continue some of the same themes as the last one?

Mitski: I’m still too close to it to know what its themes are. A lot of musicians go into an album with a concept — Bjork is really big on that, it’s like each album is a character. But for me, I just have songs and I record them, and produce them, in a way that I think suits the songs.

I had like 2 weeks to record it, and I went in and recorded it, and everything sounded exactly like I wanted it to, and I knew what I was doing. That’s the first time that’s happened. Usually I have a makeshift studio, recording everywhere, and it would take a really long time with gaps in between sessions. So it’s the first time I really know what I’m doing.

Mitski is performing two shows at CMJ, one opening for The Maccabees at Mercury Lounge (21+) and an all ages show at the former Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Brooklyn.

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