Lenka, former vocalist for the critically-acclaimed Australian electronic/ambient band Decoder Ring, will release her self-titled solo debut on Epic Records on September 23rd.
Lead single “The Show” goes to radio on July 29th. In characteristic Lenka fashion, the song takes a dour premise – that life is a show, and sometimes a pretty bad one – and delivers it with such aplomb that one can’t help but grin as it erupts into a bold, brassy closing refrain of “I want my money back!” “I decided I should just get all my friends to come in and be like the drunken tavern chorus,” explains Lenka. “Australian folk singer Missy Higgins joined in on the bit.”
An art school grad who’s also performed in numerous independent films (The Dish, Lost Things), Lenka’s fresh sensibility extends to every element of her music, as the whimsical paper art, stop-motion animated videos she creates with visual artist James Gulliver Hancock:
Other album highlights include the spine-tingling “Trouble Is A Friend,” “Wrote Me Out,” co-written (strangely) with AFI’s Hunter Burgan, the seductive “Force of Nature,” “Dangerous & Sweet” with Howie Day (stranger still) on guest vocals and the lullaby-like “Don’t Let Me Fall,” with strings conducted by composer/arranger David Campbell (otherwise known as Beck’s father). Producer Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Jay Z) arranged for the session to take place in one of the historic Capitol Records studios. “It was just extraordinary, being in a studio with nine string players and David conducting,” says Lenka, who wrote or co-wrote all of the album’s songs and also plays piano, percussion, vibraphone and glockenspiel. “I’m normally in a grungy garage making my music.”
Born and raised in the Australian bush (“my parents were hippies,” she explains), Lenka was immersed in music from the start, as her father was a jazz musician. She turned to acting in her teens, inspired by her studies at the Australian Theatre for Young People with Cate Blanchett, who got Lenka her first professional job. In 2004, she was asked to contribute vocals to several tracks on Decoder Ring’s soundtrack for the indie film Somersault. The film and soundtrack won numerous awards and Lenka was officially invited to join the band, which came to the States in 2006 for an appearance at South By Southwest and a short tour. After a second album with Decoder Ring, she went solo and eventually relocated to Los Angeles. Her first night in L.A. coincided with the airing of “Follow,” one of her early compositions, on the FX network series “Dirt.” “It was in this scene of Courtney Cox masturbating with a vibrator,” Lenka recalls. “So we had a really good laugh.”
She was pursued by numerous labels, but felt that Epic shared her vision and began recording her debut last December before the contract was even signed. Lenka, who is one of the artists selected for Bloomingdale’s music-themed fall campaign, recently headed to Woodstock, NY to record alternate versions of some album tracks and an unusual assortment of covers that includes Modest Mouse’s “Gravity Rides Everything,” M Ward’s “Vincent O’Brien” and “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. So look for those to surface in the near future…