Saul Conrad

a tyrant and lamb

CSR78
Release Notes

“An album that evokes everything from Brian Wilson’s druggy, Smile-era pop orchestrations to Joan of Arc’s disjointed, dissonant indie-rock.” – American Songwriter

“Conrad writes and sings at the intersection of Jonathan Richman and Daniel Johnston…Half the joy of “Poison Packets” is visiting Conrad’s strange hinterlands.” -The Boston Globe

“Existing on the far fringes of indie folk, it’s safe to say you’ve never heard music like Saul Conrad’s before.” – The Utne Reader

“From unnerving to spirit assuaging…” – Impose Magazine

“There are no fratty catcalls or bleacher-rattling choruses—This is a record that prods its way into your consciousness with needling subtlety…” -East Bay Express

a tyrant and lamb, Saul Conrad’s third studio album, draws ten crystalline songs into a tight orbit around a haunted country sun. Gently interrogating the lifelong echoes of cruel words, unpredictable outbursts and deep-set affection—if you love someone, kill their family in their mind, and set them free— a tyrant and lamb, constructs, from the ligaments of childhood wonder and searing disappointment, a mature musculature into which each listener must step and learn anew how it feels to walk.

In Saul Conrad’s family, music has been a central passion for three generations. In 1940, Conrad’s great uncle Claude Frank, a 15-year-old Jew fleeing Germany, played for the Brazilian ambassador in Madrid –a performance that earned him and his mother exit visas. Two decades later, Claude settled with his wife on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the two established careers as professional pianists. Claude’s RCA recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas is universally acclaimed. Two generations later, Conrad’s father took the three-year-old Saul to the Longy School of Music; Saul spent the next twenty years studying classical music. In 2006, at his high school’s spring concert, Saul performed Mozart’s double piano concerto with his great uncle Claude.

Immune to classification, Conrad’s songwriting finds a new harmony and control in his third album, combining the backcountry austerity of Poison Packets with the unbridled urban opulence of The Fancy LP into the displaced, almost homeless, intensity of a tyrant and lamb. Called a “chamber-pop head trip, evoking everything from Brian Wilson’s druggy, Smile-era pop orchestrations to Joan of Arc’s disjointed, dissonant indie-rock” by American Songwriter, Saul Conrad’s songwriting may not strive to erase discord or pain, but perhaps gives us a new means of interpreting the mechanism of our troubled minds.

a tyrant and lamb was produced by Jason Bitner (Maudlin of the Well, Differential Equations, The Flametet) and recorded largely in Conrad’s apartment in the Boston, MA outlier Jamaica Plain, and mixed at Verdant studios in Vermont on an old Broadcast Neve from the BBC. a tyrant and lamb refines Conrad’s previous albums in the shape, consistency and cohesion of songwriting, in the crafted interplay of layered vocals, and in the carefully contoured sound of the recording.

a tyrant and lamb attempts something that few seem willing to try in this time, a time that makes it a challenge to devote oneself to the necessary extent, “to become a spy” for an ideal beyond what society necessarily prizes most highly.