If you’re looking for an album to get you out of bed, an album to make you feel empowered on days where you feel powerless, I suggest Vagabon‘s Infinite Worlds, out now on my favorite local label, Father/Daughter Records. Since I’ve gotten ahold of it, my days have become easier, and my need for personal growth has only become stronger. If you have not listened to it yet, you’re already late, so catch up.
The album has gained nothing but well-deserved praise, and I am only here to give it more. Laetitia Tamko is changing the face of DIY, giving it to those that need it, while making music that anyone with a heart can enjoy.
“I was very very adamant about this record having a lot of me. You know, I really wanted to hone in on a lot of different things at the same time and just the natural progression of things — people grow so musicians grow. And so this album is just really about me challenging myself in a way that I hadn’t challenged myself musically before, and I think that’s probably going to be the basis of all recordings that I do,” Laetitia Tamko of Vagabon explained to me before the album was out. “You know, just challenging myself in ways that I haven’t done in the past. I want to be able to see significant growth in myself as I move forward.”
Even then, every single song release had been a celebration for me, because even before I had the album in my hands, I knew it was going to be my favorite album of the year. I wasn’t wrong. You can see the growth just by listening to Vagabon’s early EPs, which are online. Even the early version of the Piesces theme song “The Embers,” originally “Sharks.”
“I mean, I can never listen to it,” Tamko shared about the old EPs. “But why should I take them down? You know, it’s part of me, it’s part of my journey at this point. Considering, I toured that tape for like two years. And that was the only kind of tangible music that people who saw me play could have. So it’s so, yeah, no, I don’t I don’t feel like erasing them. It’s kind of like archiving all the different positions that I’ve been in.”
Vagabon’s music is growth. It’s personal. It can take many forms. It’s something I am excited to see where the music goes, and even where it takes me. The differences between the demo and album version of “The Embers” shows that Tamko has already grown and will continue to.
“I think people who listen to the album, depending maybe where they are, grab different things from that, which is good. It makes me feel like it’s evoking multiple different layers of reflection or something. I think that even just the transition from having those those demos released and the delivery of my voice that share that sense from recording for the first time and being uncomfortable. Whereas now I feel like I could just get into my vocals with them. I’m more rooted into what I want to do. But also the message of the song changed over the years. So also has the arrangement of it. I rearrange it that way very, very specifically because it’s not really supposed to be sad. Yeah, it’s not happy either. It’s not supposed to be sad but to evoke some emotion that doesn’t make you feel like you’re done, but like you feel a little more of the power.”