Michael Cormier-O'Leary / Babehoven / Strawberry Runners

by Liam Singer
Michael Cormier-O'Leary / Babehoven / Strawberry Runners
Wed, 26 Apr 2023 (EDT)
08:00PM - 11:00PM
Event past
The Avalon Lounge
29 Church St
Catskill, NY 12414
Open Map
Anything Can Be Left Behind) and two collections of instrumental music (Heard From the Next Room and Brief Hold EP). He is also credited with scoring music for the podcast ‘Drifting Off With Joe Pera’ as well as season 3 of APM's 'Spectacular Failures.’ 

Cormier-O'Leary is the primary composer and bandleader of the shape-shifting instrumental collective, Hour. With twin 2018 releases (Tiny Houses and Anemone Red), Hour has received accolades from Stereogum, Pitchfork, and NPR, among others. Comedian Joe Pera cited Tiny Houses as being a record he had on heavy rotation during the writing of season 3 of his Adult Swim show Joe Pera Talks With You. Hour is recording a new record in 2023. 

Cormier-O'Leary is also a founding member of the alt-country band Friendship, with critically-lauded releases (Dreamin and Shock Out of Season) on Owen Ashworth's label, Orindal Records, and a brand new record (Love The Stranger) out now on Merge Records. The band continues to tour the country extensively.

In 2019, Cormier-O'Leary founded Dear Life Records, a label that has since released music by Kath Bloom, MJ Lenderman, Natalie Jane Hill, Florry, Wendy Eisenberg, Karl Blau, and countless others. It's become a forward-thinking label that seeks to highlight the intersection of folk music traditions with improvised and experimental song forms. 

Most recently, Cormier-O’Leary navigates the unpredictability of moving across states, a new marriage, and the see-sawing of self-employment to craft a collection of songs steeped in fiction and exaggeration. Anything Can Be Left Behind (released May 5, 2023 on Dear Life Records) sheds the rigidity of structure to embrace a playful, experimental approach that highlights the nonsensical, goofiness of existence through improvisation, and an ever-curious attitude. Coating the world in cartoonish color to offer a new perspective, Cormier-O’Leary acts as a guiding force through the persistence of change.

Maya Bon, the singer-songwriter behind Hudson, New York’s Babehoven, views light as one of life’s few fundamental truths. In times of pain, we often look to simple things we can rely on, and light is as reliable as they come. Babehoven’s first full-length album Light Moving Time (out Oct 28, 2022 on Double Double Whammy) revolves around Bon’s view of life as a confusing, jarring, and kaleidoscopic experience filled with contradictions, loss, and change, so it’s no wonder Bon often looks to light — not so much for specific answers, but as a pillar of continuity and a marker of time.

Bon has built a solid partnership with her musical collaborator and producer Ryan Albert over the last few years, releasing several EPs together since 2018. Their work displays Bon’s emotionally incisive approach to songwriting that draws just as much power from abstract poetry that asks big questions as specific, personal vignettes. Similarly, Light Moving Time rests on lyrics that zoom in and out, inviting listeners to bring their own experiences to these songs when her writing is more cryptic, and stew in the moments when Bon presents her entire heart on a platter.

The band’s debut album is emblematic of Babehoven’s wide range of dynamics, and each of those sounds are taken further throughout the album. Alternating seamlessly across styles, “Circles” and “Philadelphia” have the wispy ambient calm of a Liz Harris track, “I’m On Your Team” falls somewhere between a flowy country song and an ‘80s power ballad, “Marion” contains the plucky indie-folk warmth of Hovvdy, and “Stand It” and “Pockets” are coated with My Bloody Valentine’s wobbly shoegaze. But in contrast with the band's prior releases, these tracks utilize Bon’s voice with greater emotional impact than ever before.

Strawberry Runners is the project of Brooklyn-based songwriter, Emi Night.  The richness of her music is in Emi’s tender and easy integration of the varied styles she’s called home: most of the songs maintain a humble faith in brevity; melody compels every word with the mystery and familiarity of a hymn. Basking in the poetry of vulnerability, like a love letter to a stranger, her songs ignite your heart and echo for days in your ear; poignant scenes are conjured with the reverence, acuity, singularity, and elegance of great prose. These are the kind of songs that ring true no matter how close or far they hew to the experience of the listener; they are pictures painted from a life too often troubled by brutality and grief, but also graced with an inheritance of compassion, resolve, and — best of all for us — music.