Shannon Lay, “Something on Your Mind” (Sub Pop). That so few people have heard singer-songwriter Karen Dalton’s sublime 1971 folk-rock album “In My Own Time” is a shame (but can be rectified). Luckily, Los Angeles musician Lay is helping spread the gospel with a new rendition of the album’s first song.
A mournful work about courage, regret and time, Lay’s version offers more delicacy than Dalton’s cigarette-scratched original. Dalton, who wrestled with addiction and alcoholism until her death in 1993, wasn’t a great advocate for herself, but she’s a crucial voice.
Rolling through a finger-picked acoustic opening, Lay unfurls the first notes as though spreading a blanket on grass, then stacks her voice in layers as she sets a tone: “Yesterday, any way you made it was just fine / So you turned your days into nighttime,” she sings before moving into the refrain: “Didn't you know, you can't make it without ever even trying?”
The release is the first from a just-announced union between Lay, who is also a member of the post-punk band Feels, and the famed Seattle label Sub Pop. No word yet on a Sub Pop album, but Lay’s busy this summer. She’s joined on as a member of kindred spirit Ty Segall’s Freedom Band for a series of shows in New York and Los Angeles.
Sarah Davachi, “Perfumes III” (West 25th/Superior Viaduct). The debut song from the Mills College-trained multi-instrumentalist’s rich, beat-less new album, “Pale Bloom,” finds her more focused on her primary instrument, piano, after a series of works that were heavy on organs and analog synths. That’s not to say that she’s abandoned anything; across the four long tracks on the record, she blends and weaves hammer strikes and breathy pipe organ notes.