<< 1998-2000 >>

FROM THE BLUE HOUSE

A HARMLESS LITTLE KISS EP

SONG FOR A BOY/LOOK LIKE SHIT 7” vinyl single


From the blue house cover hi res.jpeg

FROM THE BLUE HOUSE

FUN FACTS!

Recorded on 16-track tape in rural Virginia, legendary LA engineer Brian Kehew drove across the country, bringing rare vintage and boutique analog gear with him, to assemble the small studio and record From The Blue House

Lauren got out of her Virgin Records contract, started her own label, and produced “From The Blue House” all at age 22

UK Indie Dreamy Records released the “Song For a Boy/Look Like Shit” 7” Vinyl

PIAS released From The Blue House in Europe, Lauren toured again in France

Features the only cover song Lauren has ever released on an album: “Whoever You Are” was written by her longtime mentor, the jazz trumpeter John D’earth, who also performed on and arranged the instrumentation for the recording

Around this time, Lauren also recorded and produced Karmen Buttler’s album “Good Alien” for her indie label Free Union Records



Lauren does a tremendous job of bearing her soul through her music and that soul shows a women who knows who she is and knows what she expects but at the same time is still beautiful, compassionate, and as I said, intelligent.
— Jeb Branin - In Music We Trust
LH+fariello+5.jpg

Lauren Hoffman’s second album is an entirely satisfying surprise. There’s plenty to immediately fall in love with: her engaging, pure voice; her unclichéd folk-based indie rock that sounds like Liz Phair’s jazzier sister; her catchy melodies; her cautious, wise and funny narratives that carefully side-step obvious and cynical traps.

Michael Barclay - Free Union VA/Exclaim!


BILLBOARD MAGAZINE - Declarations of Independents, by Chris Morris

November 6, 1999

FLAG WAVING: Lauren Hoffman’s album “From The Blue House,” released on her own Free Union Records, is a project Virgin Records didn’t want but on you may be happy to have. 

Singer/songwriter Hoffman was signed to a six-album deal by Virgin at the age of 19; she was 20 when the label released her debut, “Megiddo,” in 1997. Though the album showed a precocious talent for lyric-writing and showcased her lovely, almost conversational singing style, it was DOA commercially. 

Though Hoffman went into an emotional tailspin when the album failed, she recovered to cut a second, more sparsely conceived record, which Virgin showed no interest in. The artist and label decided to go their separate ways, and Hoffman formed Charlottesville, Va.-based Free Union Records to issue the album. (A more complete version of these events may be found in a candid personal history on Hoffman’s Website, www.forlauren.com.)

“In my experience, I was too young, and didn’t have the strength… I was too young to handle the things that went wrong circumstantially,” says Hoffman, now a thoroughly wised-up 22-year-old.

She says of the tussle over “From The Blue House” with Virgin, “I knew I made the record I wanted to make…Everybody’s record company says the same thing to them: ‘Where’s the single? Maybe you can go back and write another one.’”

She added, “I decided I could fuck it up on my own.”

The new album, produced with elegant simplicity by Hoffman with an assist by Brian Kehew, shows off her lyrical bite to splendid effect. Backed ably by Kehew, former Cracker and House of Freaks drummer Johnny Hott, bassist Scot Fitzsimmons, and L.A. jack-of-all-trades Jon Brion, the vocalist shines on such striking tracks as “Heavy Scene,” “Rare New Disease,” “Song For A Boy,” and “Whoever You Are.”

Hoffman is currently selling the album direct to mid-Atlantic stores. She is close to completing a distribution deal that will take the record to national chains in January,

Well-removed from the major-label rat race, Hoffman has been playing regular solo shows at the Charlottesville club Tokyo Rose. Her evenings there, which sometimes also feature her friend Karmen Butler and Butler’s band the Fridgean Mode, are billed as “Shut Up And Listen Nights.”

“I’ve found I connect with an audience more when they feel they have to shut up and listen to the lyrics,” says Hoffman, whose attitude about playing solo has changed recently. 

“I didn’t even have an acoustic guitar on ‘Megiddo,’” she recalls. “I was afraid of people going, ‘Oh, another chick with a guitar.’”


free union studio.jpeg
free union studio 2.jpeg
free union studio 1.jpeg

If Lauren Hoffman’s debut Megiddo was like exploring a dark old manor, From the Blue House is stepping outside onto the porch in the midst of a beautiful spring day. This collection (released after Hoffman parted ways with Virgin) swings, shuffles, and grooves without the heavy atmospherics that were so prevalent on her debut. Tracks like “Bring You Down,” “Dust Off Your Dreams,” and “Song for a Boy” manage to combine Hoffmann’s penchant for melody and groove with her strange dark lyrical slant. It is unfortunate that Hoffman will not get the necessary marketing to make her a household name with this release, but it is obvious that the artistic freedom she now has paid off in spades. A great soundtrack for a big sky.
— Chris True - AllMusic

ORjJZfqjQPLFqu_S-5Jz9u6Z8BUAwbDe4nnpmuvwnNtBEVu09ykDg0SC-S6gPSRxyUJ1jC9XYOd9P2R4eJvXMVJVS9-vhTn7L4xECUBjdTY5PVaRLPblMXHgnEYYubOrdDRrumvE.jpg

A HARMLESS LITTLE KISS EP

Includes live versions of “Rock Star”, “The Cannibal Ed”, “Build A Home” performed in Paris at La Cigale.

Lauren’s Megiddo touring band was a trio - Lauren played a semi-hollowbody vintage guild electric guitar, Scot Fitzsimmons played stand-up bass, and Johnny Hott played drums.

The 4-track demo of “Look Like Shit” on A Harmless Little Kiss was elaborated on for inclusion on From The Blue House


LH fariello contact sheet.jpeg

From The Blog:


Peter Griesar played keyboards in Lauren’s band before  Megiddo

Peter Griesar played keyboards in Lauren’s band before Megiddo

Later, Lauren played guitar and sang in Peter Griesar’s band, Supertanker

Later, Lauren played guitar and sang in Peter Griesar’s band, Supertanker

From a solo show at Live Arts in Charlottesville VA in 1998

From a solo show at Live Arts in Charlottesville VA in 1998


FROM THE BLUE HOUSE ALBUM CREDITS

Anti-production and evil dictatorship by Lauren Hoffman, aided and abetted by Brian Kehew.
'From the Blue House' was committed to 16-track analog tape in June and July 1998 at The Blue House in Virginia, by Brian Kehew and blended to a creamy consistency by Ethan Johns in August 1998 at LAFX North Hollywood, California - except for 'Look Like Shit', which is almost entirely Lauren's fault, with a little assistance from Matthew Sherwood.
Mastered from 24-bit by Allen Tucker at Foothill Digital NYC.

All songs by Lauren Hoffman (Amrit Music BMI), except 'Whoever You are' by John D'earth/Dawn Thompson (Magic Times Music BMI).

Cover art by Jen Fariello 
Handwritten lyrics and drawings by Fred Oesch 
Layout and additional photos by Ken Kavanagh

~~~

Heavy Scene / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Scot Fitzsimmons - Bass
Johnny Hott - Drums
Lilli Hoffman - Backing vocals 
Brian Kehew - Keyboard

Bring You Down / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Benjamin Jacobs - Bass
Rod Coles - Drums

Dust Off Your Dreams / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Benjamin Jacobs - Bass
Rod Coles - Drums

Rare New Disease / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Scot Fitzsimmons - Bass 
Johnny Hott - Chime

Song For A Boy / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Scot Fitzsimmons - Bass 
Johnny Hott - Drums 
Brian Kehew - Keyboard

Sister / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Jon Brion - Bass, Hammond 
Johnny Hott - Drums

Fortune On My Name / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals

Whoever You Are / Lauren- Vocals 
John D'earth - Trumpet 
Wells Hanley - Keyboard 
Peter Spaar - Bass 
Robert Jospe - Drums

Sugarpie / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Jimmy Stelling - Banjo 
Scot Fitzsimmons - Bass 
Drums - Johnny Hott

Magic Stick / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals
Scot Fitzsimmons - Bass 
Johnny Hott - Drums

Look Like Shit / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals, Programming, etc

The Addict / Lauren - Guitar, Vocals, Pump Organ

"With big, sappy hugs and kisses to Brian Kehew, Graham Henderson, Ross Hoffman and Kathy Compton, John D-earth and everyone who played on the album, Ethan Johns, Ken Pederson, Jen Fariello, Ian Blackaby, Mojo Digital, Lydia Condor, Fred Oesch, WNRN, Lilli, Peter, Gary, Bunny and George, Jill Sobule, David Lowery and John Morand, Velena Vego, Yves, Emilie, mom, Blasco, all my e-mail friends and the fans who wrote to me and let me know that someone really is listening.”
-
© Lauren Hoffman/Amrit Music Rights Reserved