Emerging artist Leon III has offered another debut of their sophomore record, Antlers In Velvet, with “Skeletal Pines”. The new single premiered last Thursday via The Vinyl District, who shared with it a brief essay from frontman Andy Stepanian—who alongside partner Mason Brent form the core of Leon III—on the importance of vinyl. Antlers In Velvet is out on March 5th.
In “Skeletal Pines”, the fourth single off Antlers In Velvet (fifth if you count the remix of “This Whisper Is Ours” by Lee “Scratch” Perry), Leon III slows things down a bit to an eerie crawl. Like a morning fog rolling in over a dew-soaked hill, Stepanian’s vocals move through the track like a mist. While the vocals provide a bit of serenity, Stepanian explains that the lyrics paint a slightly darker picture.
“It’s a story about a ghost revisiting his living wife and not liking that she has a new companion,” Stepanian told The Vinyl District. “It turned out quite beautiful thanks to Kai Welch’s (Kacey Musgraves) piano and Dana Colley’s (Morphine) baritone saxophone. Bobby Bare, Jr. once told me that Mark Nevers (who produced the album) does his best work on the quietest songs. I think it shows here.”
Stepanian also explored his longstanding relationship with vinyl and the lasting nature of physical music in The Vinyl District.
I am lucky enough to have a father who was really into music—mostly country, but he also loved opera like Mario Lanza and Pavarotti. As far back as I can remember, he would take my brother and me to a record store called Peaches in Richmond, Virginia a few times a year. He would never really restrict us on how much we could get, so it felt like an absolute free-for-all since I was young and would come away with three or four records in whatever the format du jour was—records then tapes and then CDs…
In a lot of ways all of this has influenced what I want to create as a musician. I want to make full album experiences with crazy artwork and tactile elements—not just a bunch of digital singles. This isn’t really what is en vogue at the moment. I realize that. But it’s what I feel has the most lasting impact. Maybe one day someone will find a Leon III record in the $2 bin or in some collection they are given and fall for it. That’s not going to happen with a digital single.
Listen to “Skeletal Pines”, the latest single from Leon III. Antlers In Velvet is available to pre-order here. Scroll down to see the full lyrics and click here to read Stepanian’s full essay in The Vinyl District.
Leon III – “Skeletal Pines”
[Video: Leon III]
“Skeletal Pines” Lyrics
I can feel the weight of the flowers
It’s been five years since they were placed
They blew off in that winter’s wind
Gone to join the earth again
We all join the earth again
And each night I come to your bedside
But my touch just leaves you cold
Stumble from your sleep and stammer out loud
Oh darling are you here in the room?
Golden band on your nightstand
In the darkest hour will you still shine?
And light my way to the church yard where the ground will open wide
Something strange now occupies the space where my bones should lie
Now we walk through the garden
Your dressing gown and your braided hair
Can you feel the weight of the flowers?
It was me who placed them there