ABOVE: MOTHERS. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHERVIN LAINEZ.
Though Kristine Leschper has been writing and performing her own music ever since picking up a guitar in high school, her compositions only cohered into the four-piece alt-folk outfit Mothers in mid-2014. Leschper had long intended to bring other musicians into her process, but she spent several years working solo, honing her voice while she completed her art degree at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.
“I didn’t feel super capable, I didn’t feel really confident in my instrument, I wasn’t sure I could keep up with other musicians at the time, so really, performing as a solo act was just this personal compromise,” she recalls. By 2014, she fell in with bandmates Matthew Anderegg and Drew Kirby due to shared influences and musical inclinations. (Leschper cites Hella, Don Caballero, and Tera Melos among the trio’s favorites.) They jumped into the studio in December 2014, adding a bass player to the lineup, and finished their debut record When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired in January 2015. Yet even after the band wrapped recording, they continued assembling new material.
“We were just sort of exploring and trying to figure out what Mothers was,” Leschper explains. One result of this exploration was “Easy As Possible,” a track that Leschper wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day. We’re pleased to report it has and to premiere it below as our track of the week. It, along with many other tracks Leschper and Anderegg started laying down on four-track cassette machines, will now round out the deluxe edition of When You Walk, out via Grand Jury on July 29. (The original record was released in February of this year.) “They were just sort of these explorations that we were doing at home—they feel really intuitive and really special to me now,” she adds.
“Easy As Possible” is a twinkling, low-fi lullaby. Leschper croons over carefully plucked strings, just the right amount of feedback distorting her voice. There are echoes of Angel Olsen in her reedy tones, as well as the melancholy of early Bright Eyes. But the sweet melody belies the somber lyrical content—”Did I give you enough to hope for?” she wonders. The song reaches a crescendo as she cries, “It is as easy as possible,” and then, abruptly, it slows, an extended ritardando that quietly falls away.
The new edition of When You Walk features nearly twice as many tracks as the original record, building on the foundation the band laid earlier this year. From the slow waltz of “Easy As Possible” to the mournful, electrified ballad “Accessory Cloud,” it’s the eclectic, varied turf of a band—as Leschper noted—that’s still trying to figure itself out.
But for Leschper, the meaning of Mothers has always been clear. While finishing her art degree, she began studying the nesting behaviors of rabbits. “I started relating this idea of motherhood and creating something with being a songwriter and creating things, and just the really beautiful and also sort of tragic act of creating something and then having to let it go,” she says. “It came out of that—considering myself a mother of the songs that I write and this idea of the tragedy of being a creator.”
THE DELUXE EDITION OF WHEN YOU WALK A LONG DISTANCE YOU ARE TIRED WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 29 VIA GRAND JURY. FOR MORE ON MOTHERS, VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK.