Leslie Bear makes lush, delicate folk-rock under the moniker Long Beard, which might be a masculine construction but makes sense in relation to the texture and tone of her music. (It’s also a sly reimagining of her initials.) Bear hails from New Brunswick, New Jersey and has been steadily honing her debut album Sleepwalker to a fine point over the past four years. She’s succeeded, too. Sleepwalker hangs together tight and delicate like a dreamcatcher, warding off evil and collecting tranquility in simmering riffs and crystalline harmonies. Her songs stretch out like wispy tendrils, stroking at the edges of your memory and evoking quiet wisdom in their wide-eyed longing.
We’ve heard quite a few already: the quiet surreal clattering of “Dream,” existential burner “Hates The Party,” and night-sky lullaby “Porch.” Today she’s releasing yet another piece of the album, the cooing and smoldering “Turkeys.” Sometimes, Bear lets her voice dissolve from actual phrases into dipping, wordless hums that join the seething guitars in precise but unpredictable ways. One lyric stays burning in my mind even when the rest fade to smoke: “Won’t you come over and dance with me?” With each repeat, the phrase blazes from casual invitation toward magnificent, fated proportions. It’s a question that travels from rhetorical to mystical in the space of a few chords. That’s how the great ones have always done it.
Long Beard has a few shows coming up:
10/16 New York, NY @ Lutheran Church of the Messiah: Portals + Stadiums & Shrines Present An Unofficial CMJ Showcase
10/22 Annandale-On-Hudson, NY @ Bard College Root Celler
10/23 New Brunswick, NJ @ In the West (Album Release Party)
Sleepwalker is out 10/23 on Team Love. Pre-order it here.