The new album Past Life by Lost in the Trees is a stripped down story of moving beyond themes of loss and into crafting songs to create a maximum impact in a live setting. Channeling into his method the liberating happiness frontman Ari Pickler felt in his young marriage, he came up with a new approach to writing: “I wanted to reach out and grab the music rather than have it come from some internal place.” On past releases Pickler had used an expanded six-member band to render his carefully composed, classical-inflected songs, bringing them fully arranged to the studio for the band to perform. For the new album, the band was pared to a lean electronic-rock four-piece, and in this new configuration Lost in the Trees took to the road to workshop the songs that would become Past Life. Immediately, the new tracks evidence more than a band pared down; the arrangements are modern, spare, minimal, emphasizing groove and rhythm, blending the sonic architecture of 21st century electronic dance music, the austere emotion of the minimalist composers, and the sensual swerve of post-Bowie 80s pop.

Opening the evening is All Tiny Creatures, who are back with their second album, Dark Clock, coming out May 28 on Hometapes, the Portland-based label home to Matthew E. White, Bear In Heaven and Megafaun. “This is like pop music from an alternate universe,” says Thomas Wincek, the founder of the Wisconsin-based four-piece. Hearing the urgent, upbeat, breathy direction of the first single “Quickest Cut,” you’re transported to a land where every child was raised on a steady diet of Steve Reich, King Crimson, the Beach Boys, and Def Leppard.

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