Andy Shauf comes from the Canadian hinterlands. He’s in his early thirties. He sings in a reedy, conversational voice, and he looks vaguely uncomfortable onstage. He makes oblique but lushly orchestrated indie rock concept albums that are heavy on narrative detail. He is, in other words, not exactly a big-tent sort of artist. And yet Shauf’s new album Neon Skyline is so rich and engrossing that the man is getting booked on late-night shows anyway. That’s pretty amazing
Last night, Shauf was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live. On the show proper, he and his backing band played “Try Again,” one of the early tracks from Neon Skyline. As an online bonus, they also did the album’s title track. Everyone looked and sounded a bit out-of-place on the Kimmel stage, but one of the nice-things about TV-show sound crew is that you can hear Shauf’s lyrics just fine. Since Shauf is a lyrics-first sort of artist, that served him just fine.
One funny thing about Shauf appearing on this show: Last night’s main guests were Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, the three judges of the rebooted American Idol. I wonder if they heard Shauf’s performances, and if they did, I wonder what they thought. Watch Shauf play his songs below.
Neon Skyline is out now on Anti-.