The folk and singer/songwriter genre has become increasingly oversaturated in the past ten years, as there appears to be no shortage of white dudes who air their problems out over fingerpicked acoustic guitar. Finding a songwriter in this mass who knows how to properly execute a good melody or hook is often a difficult task. Fortunately, that feature is what New York City musician Tyler Lyle has in spades, as his new LP The Native Genius of Desert Plants shows. Much like the English guitar picker Ben Howard, Lyle strikes a happy medium between the introspection of the “guy with an acoustic guitar” format and sophisticated pop smarts. Tracks like single “Winter is for Kierkegaard” also show that he knows his way around lyric writing, to boot.
Lyle tells PopMatters, “I moved to New York from the west coast last fall with a collection of songs that I’d written in LA. I met the producer early on in Brooklyn through a mutual contact and we clicked immediately. I liked his instincts and he liked my songs, so we booked two days with a band and hit record. The album was almost entirely tracked in those two days with an amazing group of musicians at a now shuttered studio called One East in the Flat Iron District of Manhattan. My producer, Sanford Livingston, and I finished post production work in Gramercy at the Mophonics Studio, and the mixing and mastering was done at Steve Rosenthal’s iconic studio the Magic Shop in Soho by Matt Boynton (MGMT, Kurt Vile, Lissie). It was a fantastic way to experience this new town by touring some of the coolest studios in Manhattan. I’m so excited to release this collection of songs. To my ears, it sounds like both coasts in the best sort of way.”
The independently released The Native Genius of Desert Plants, which was funded in part through PledgeMusic, is out on 2 June.