Ben Lee had barely cracked the puberty code when he fronted renowned Aussie alt-rock combo Noise Addict, and as a well-weathered 16-year-old, he began his debut solo album, the mature yet still naive Grandpaw Would. Lee’s third album, Breathing Tornados, garnered best male artist and album of the year nominations in Australia. After 2002’s big-selling hey you. yes you., Lee started his own label and released the most upbeat album in his increasingly dark catalog, 2005’s Awake Is The New Sleep, requiring him to compose acceptance speeches for best male artist, best independent release and single of the year wins at home. Lee’s impressive string of successes continued with 2007’s Ripe, but the streak stopped with 2009’s The Rebirth Of Venus. The quasi-concept album of Lee’s ruminations on women was almost universally derided as half-baked philosophical twaddle set to a weirdly diverse pop soundtrack. Simultaneously, he was also examining the inherent power of dreams with Dr. Jan Lloyd, whose death last year inspired Lee to again brave the concept-album waters with Deeper Into Dream (Dangerbird), a loosely threaded set about the mind movies our brains script, direct and discard every single night. Lee will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.
Lee: TSLC is a 26-member choir of Eastside residents whose debut album I am producing. We reached out to a list of their favorite songwriters and asked for an exclusive, unheard song that we could arrange and record with full choral treatment. Justin Vernon was the first songwriter to come back to us, and we were blown away with the gorgeous piece he sent us. Since then, artists like Kevin Barnes, Beck, Sia, Aimee Mann, Tegen And Sara and Carl Newman have all given us songs to record. It’s a very exciting album. But the most important thing is the sound of this choir. When I first heard them, I described the effect as giving me “about six boners.” It’s a musical joy eruption. I can’t wait to release the first two tracks to blogs in the coming weeks.
Video after the jump.