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Jenny Owen Youngs in Portland on Friday

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This Friday, one of my new favorite artists will play at Empire Dine and Dance - Jenny Owen Youngs, a young singer-songwriter from Brooklyn. (When I ask how old she is, she kindly-but-firmly responds: "Old enough.") She's on tour right now, with bandmates she describes as best friends, promoting her new album, Transmitter Failure (Nettwerk).

The album, as she points out below, is different from her last record, Batten the Hatches, which had more of a folksy feel. Though they both treat similar themes - love lost and found, and how we talk about it - Transmitter Failure does so with slightly more energy and panache, a bit more confidence, and something of a snarl traveling underneath. There's also an increased sense of Youngs' self-awareness, not only as a musician, but as a human. On songs like "Clean Break" -- in which she tries for clinical detachment from a former lover -- and "Dissolve" -- in which she calmly, if torturedly, observes the glue of a relationship get un-sticky -- Youngs sounds mature, sad, and knowing. Luckily, there are more positive forms of reflection here too -- as in "First Person," and "Last Person," different takes on the same musical and lyrical motifs, which giddily and smartly examine a nascent romantic fling. 

I talked with Youngs on the phone yesterday, as she barreled from her home in Park Slope, Brooklyn, toward a show in Philly. 

What is special about this album?

I feel like it's pretty different from the last record that I made. It's louder, more fun. Not dance-y, but made with the idea of being able to put on a more movement-oriented live show.

What are some of the album's themes?

The main thing of the album - most, of not all, of the songs hinge on the idea of communication.

So, writing songs about communication, and how it affects our personal, professional, and romantic lives, you must think a lot about Facebook, Twitter, Gmail...All the modern modes of communicating.

Oh, I think about it all the time...And it makes me insane. I kind of go back and forth between feeling obligated to be connected to those things - which is totally unhealthy - and being like, ‘I'm going to take a break from all that,' which is always shorter than I planned. I'm...adapting.

Who are some of your musical influences?

When we were making this record we listened to a lot of Kate Bush, The Strokes, Ludacris, Motion City Soundrack, and Paramore.

Also, her favorite food is Ethiopian food, but she's not sure if she'd feel the same way if she had to eat it every day. She also likes burritos and I told her about El Rayo. Keep your eyes peeled - perhaps she'll stop in before the 9 pm show at Empire (opening acts: Jukebox the Ghost and These United States).

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