Michael Lerner’s attraction to crystalline indie-pop may derive from his time working with producers like Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla and Spoon’s Jim Eno but he’s doesn’t specifically follow blueprints from either. Lerner’s role as drummer and lead vocalist makes for an energetic live performance that exhibits pangs of earnestness that’s generally absent from other artists in the indie-pop genre. The Telekinesis name originated in 2008 with the modest, self-released Toulouse-Lautrec EP, which was, in a way, the prototype for his self-titled debut album.
Since then, Lerner’s music has become more polished, refined with a sense of maturity that doesn’t detract from the larger picture. His latest release, Dormarion, shows a more expansive range to Lerner’s repertoire, mastering Daniel Johnston-style acoustic tracks to the same gritty garage-rock fuzz of Ty Segall, but also a more obvious synth presence that adds an extra dimension to each song. Regardless of genre, Telekinesis makes it impossible to not bob along in 4/4 time or, at the very least, toe-tap along. His music is mild-mannered and celebratory; in short, Telekinesis makes you feel good.
NadaMucho.com: Have you been to Leavenworth? If so, what impressions did it leave with you?
Telekinesis’ Michael Lerner: Yes! It’s been so long though, in fact, I don’t really remember much of it. I think I was that young. But my parents took my sister and I there at one time. I remember thinking it felt like Europe, which as a kid, was pretty unreal and foreign at that point. I loved it.
NM: Since the festival happens in early 2014, what are some of your New Year’s resolutions?
ML: I have a few. Start working on a new Telekinesis record. Finish this record I’m doing with Matthew Caws (Nada Surf, Minor Alps). Be able to run for more than 2 miles without falling over. And “not sweat the small stuff.”
NM: Timbrrr! advertises hot toddies. What are some of your favorite recipes?
ML: Man, I’ve only ever had like one toddy in my life. I remember it being at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. I was sick, but also wanted to feel a little buzzed before we played. So our bass player, Jonie, got one for me. It was delicious. I wish I had a fave recipe, but I don’t.
NM: The festival features snowshoeing and other winter-related activities. Do you have a favorite snow sport?
ML: I’ve never tried snowshoeing, but I really would like to do that! All the others are hazards for my job. I’m not the best when it comes to snowboarding and such. I’m afraid I’ll totally break a limb.
NM: Leavenworth in January calls for warm clothing. What is your essential gear for the winter?
ML: A warm jacket is key. Long underwear, for sure. A good, good scarf. And mittens that can also allow you to use your smart phone are a must.
NM: Which song would you recommend listening to on a brisk winter day?
ML: Anything off of Sibylle Baier’s Colour Green record.
Timbrrr Fest! takes place January 10-11 in Leavenworth, Washington.
More in this series:
- Temple Echoes
- Kevin Long
- Wild Ones
- Barna Howard
- Lotte Kestner
- Joseph Giant
- The Moondoggies
- Full Lineup Announced
- You Me and Apollo
- Radiation City
- Hey Marseilles
- The Lonely Forest
- Timbrrr Fest Preview