All "Willis Earl Beal" stories

Return to Story

Featured Willis Earl Beal stories

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to select the rising bands which have connected them, someone wrote a long time ago. Or, something close to that. Here’s what we’re getting down to: It’s that time of year when Stereogum’s staff selects the 40 most exciting new* acts of… More »

More "Willis Earl Beal" stories

Willis Earl Beal – “Survive”

The seemingly boundless creative output of Willis Earl Beal continues with this year’s NOCTURNES, an album he recorded after a move out to the solitary woods of Olympia, Washington. We’ve already heard “Flying So Low” from the record, and now here’s another one. “Survive” could almost be seen a response to critics, who were eager… More »

By: James Rettig / July 30, 2015 - 5:01 pm

Willis Earl Beal – “Flying So Low”

For a while, all we had from Chicago’s foremost ambient-soul outcast Willis Earl Beal was the piecemeal collection of lo-fi home recordings Acousmatic Sorcery that XL Recordings/Hot Charity rightfully snapped up in 2012. Beal has been vocal before about how the capitalistic aspect of the music industry had a negative impact on his subsequent ability… More »

By: Caitlin White / May 28, 2015 - 11:18 am

Willis Earl Beal – “I AM.” Video

Earlier this year, the iconoclastic Chicago singer-songwriter Willis Earl Beal left XL, his label, and threw himself into the chaotic, uncertain world of self-released records to get his Experiments In Time album out into the world. Valerian Zamel directed a video for Beal’s song “I AM.,” and it’s all smeary point-of-view shots, filmed from the… More »

By: Tom Breihan / October 30, 2014 - 2:02 pm

Stream Willis Earl Beal Experiments In Time

Willis Earl Beal spoke last month about why he decided to leave his old label, XL, and release his new album entirely by himself. That album, Experiments In Time, sounded more and more intriguing as singles like “Traveling Eyes” and “Until We Die” emerged. Hearing it now in full, the album sounds like something Beal… More »

By: Miles Bowe / July 31, 2014 - 12:03 pm

Willis Earl Beal – “Until We Die”

The Chicago art-soul auteur Willis Earl Beal recently told the world that he wasn’t happy on XL Recordings, his old label, and that he’d elected to leave and to self-release his new album Experiments In Time through the DIY website CDBaby. He’s already shared the beautiful, unearthly “Traveling Eyes,” and now there’s a second song… More »

By: Tom Breihan / July 14, 2014 - 9:31 am

Willis Earl Beal – “Traveling Eyes”

In a long and fascinating interview, the Chicago art-soul belter Willis Earl Beal recently announced plans to leave XL Recordings, his label, and to self-release his new album Experiments In Time through the DIY website CDBaby. (Not even Bandcamp! Or DatPiff! CDBaby!) He’s now shared the first of the songs from that album, and it’… More »

By: Tom Breihan / June 27, 2014 - 8:46 am

Hear Michael K. Williams Read A Short Story By Willis Earl Beal

Last week, Willis Earl Beal revealed in a fascinating interview that he would be leaving his label XL and self-releasing music again. His next album sounds pretty exciting, but another briefly mentioned detail in the interview was that Michael K. Williams (best known for playing Omar on The Wire) recently read one of Beal’s short… More »

By: Miles Bowe / June 19, 2014 - 2:26 pm

Disillusioned Willis Earl Beal Explains Why He’s Leaving His Label

A few years ago, the Chicago soul singer Willis Earl Beal went from singing for commuters on El train platforms to signing with XL Recordings, becoming labelmates with Adele and Vampire Weekend. (Specifically, Beal was on the XL imprint Hot Charity.) That seems like a pretty dizzy ascent, but Beal wasn’t happy on XL, and… More »

By: Tom Breihan / June 11, 2014 - 5:12 pm

Stream Willis Earl Beal Curious Cool

Back in January, the mercurial lo-fi Chicago soul singer posted a mysterious new eight-song album called A Place That Doesn’t Exist online. He essentially suggested that he just had a bunch of extra songs lying around and that he decided he might as well share them. Now, just a few months later, he’s done it… More »

By: Tom Breihan / April 8, 2014 - 11:34 am

Willis Earl Beal – “Coming Through” Video (Feat. Mischa Barton)

When was the last time you thought about Mischa Barton? The former The O.C. star shows up in Willis Earl Beal’s new video for the Cat Power collaboration “Coming Through,” a lo-fi short film in which Barton falls in with Beal’s (fictitious) religious group, the Church Of Nobody. The song, culled from last year’s NobodyMore »

By: Chris DeVille / February 18, 2014 - 2:38 pm

Stream Willis Earl Beal A Place That Doesn’t Exist

In recent interviews, itinerant experimental folk freak Willis Earl Beal has been mentioning a new album called A Place That Doesn’t Exist and suggesting he might give it away for free. He told Under The Radar:… More »

By: Chris DeVille / January 28, 2014 - 12:08 pm

Willis Earl Beal – “Babble On.” & “Coriander Tree Life”

Right about now, the folk-soul brother Willis Earl Beal is two months into his album-release cycle; he dropped the new one Nobody knows. in September. But over the weekend, he threw two new songs, the gospel-inflected “Babble On.” and the synth-dazed “Coriander Tree Life,” up online. The two songs sure seem like they could come… More »

By: Tom Breihan / November 11, 2013 - 8:48 am

Watch Cat Power Sing With Willis Earl Beal In Brooklyn

A few days ago Chan Marshall and Willis Earl Beal performed at the Knitting Factory, and now we’ve got some video of the two singing together. Marshall is sitting on the ground and a little reluctant at first when Beal begins with Dylan’s “Pledging My Time.” Eventually Beal sits down with her and the two… More »

By: Miles Bowe / October 31, 2013 - 12:57 pm

Watch Willis Earl Beal & King Krule Play Church Of Nobody Sessions

Willis Earl Beal has launched a new video series, appropriately titled “Church Of Nobody.” There will be eight parts in total; so far Beal has released episode one, featuring a three-song set of his own music, plus a second episode featuring King Krule. Check out both episodes below. More »

By: Liz Pelly / October 27, 2013 - 7:28 am

Stream Willis Earl Beal Nobody knows.

The Chicago outsider-soul howler Willis Earl Beal got his start singing on Chicago street corners and in train stations, and he’s always sounded like someone struggling to make his inner pain audible over L train clackity-clacks. Last year, he made the aboveground leap, releasing the lo-fi major-label album Acoustimatic Sorcery. And now he’s following it… More »

By: Tom Breihan / September 3, 2013 - 12:41 pm

Willis Earl Beal – “Coming Through” (Feat. Cat Power)

Chicago soul experimentalist Willis Earl Beal has unleashed the inspirational big production (for Beal, at least) “Coming Through” featuring Cat Power on backup vocals. The track comes from his upcoming LP Nobody knows., from which we’ve already heard “Everything Unwinds” and “Too Dry To Cry.” The singer will also appear in Pavillion director Tim Sutton’… More »

By: Claire Lobenfeld / August 27, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Watch The Trailer For Memphis, Starring Willis Earl Beal

The Memphis outsider-soul howler is getting set to release a new album called Nobody knows., and we’ve already posted his songs “Everything unwinds.” and “Too Dry To Cry,” as well as his non-album Lana Del Rey response “Black Beauty.” But that LP isn’t the only thing Beal has going on. He’s the star of a… More »

By: Tom Breihan / August 23, 2013 - 11:00 am

Willis Earl Beal – “Black Beauty (A Response To Lana Del Rey From Willis Earl Beal)”

Last month, an unreleased Lana Del Rey song called “Black Beauty” hit the internet. Nobody knew if it was new or old, but it was among the lovelier things she’s ever done. And now, the Chicago outsider-soul belter Willis Earl Beal, apparently moved by the LDR song, has offered his own “response” to it. Beal… More »

By: Tom Breihan / August 5, 2013 - 3:59 pm

Willis Earl Beal – “Too Dry To Cry”

The Chicago outsider-soul wailer made his impression singing songs on street corners, and his debut album Acousmatic Sorcery was an exercise in home-recorded slapdash weirdness. But on Beal’s new album Nobody knows., we might get to hear what he can do for real. This time around, Beal’s got a real studio at his disposal, and… More »

By: Tom Breihan / July 24, 2013 - 4:28 pm

Willis Earl Beal – “Everything unwinds.”

Willis Earl Beal shares ambient soul cut “Everything unwinds.” from his upcoming album Nobody knows.. While his last full-length Acousmatic Sorcery was an exercise in true experimentation — he recorded it on a karaoke machine with all found instruments — he’s gone a more traditional route this time and the results are just as good. More »

By: Claire Lobenfeld / June 25, 2013 - 2:56 pm
1 2