Today, Minnesota-raised, Vermont-based producer and songwriter Lutalo announces their new EP, AGAIN, out August 25th on Winspear, and presents its lead single/video, “Push Back Baby.” For Lutalo, creating music is an act of hope in and of itself. Throughout their meticulously crafted, folk, rock and soul — on which they sing and play all the instruments — Lutalo embeds golden lines of poetry that inspire curiosity about the world and empathy for everyone searching for a way through it. On the ambitious AGAIN, a collection of kinetic indie rock tracks, Lutalo makes bold critiques of systemic oppression, capitalism, and the digital attention economy. Though these topics are heady, their writing always sits at an accessible place of personal introspection. “You’re looking through the eyes of Lutalo,” Lutalo says of AGAIN. “I’m looking at my emotions, as well as how other people feel and interact with the systems we live within.”
On “Push Back Baby,” AGAIN’s arresting lead single whose fuzzy electric guitar lines twist and unfurl in intricate patterns, Lutalo paints a complex portrait of our current reality that’s “rooted in the greed or narcissism of capitalists,” they explain. “I’m analyzing those systems and patterns, and also asking, ‘Can we continue to not perpetuate this?’ Because it’s hurt a lot of people historically. I’m just asking people to question it.”
In support of AGAIN, Lutalo will tour throughout North American with Katy Kirby in August and Claud in September before performing at Pitchfork Music Festivals Paris and London this November. Full dates are listed below and tickets are on sale now.
After releasing their 2022 debut EP, Once Now, Then Again, the 24-year-old born Lutalo Jones emerged as a rising presence in the indie world, catching the attention of Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold and Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, who invited the young musician on tour. Along with the vinyl release of that breakthrough project, they are releasing its companion EP, AGAIN, which reveals their prenaturally masterful range in sonic expression and philosophical thought.
Growing up between the Twin Cities, commuting from their home in Minneapolis to school in St. Paul, young Lutalo was quickly ushered into West African drumming lessons by their music-loving father, who exposed them to everything from classical music, jazz, and hip-hop such as MF Doom and Talib Kweli. Comfortable with dabbling in all instruments growing up, they got into the indie rock of Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra as a teen, around the same time they learned to produce music on Ableton by a DIY-minded friend.
In 2020, Lutalo enjoyed a brief stint in New York City, where they released their 2020 debut single, “Heavy Snow,” a delicate folk ballad that revealed their skill for capturing emotional nuance in their writing. They then moved to Vermont, seeking isolation in the snowy mountains of the Northeast. “I think designing your own reality is something that’s possible,” they reflect, explaining that they wanted to lead a more self-reliant life, less dependent on capitalistic structures.
After about a year of getting acclimated to life in Vermont, Lutalo then wrote the two EPs, and then recorded the tracks in a nearby cabin with friend and collaborator Patrick Hintz. Once Now, Then Again is acoustic-driven and gentle, like the lush natural environment of the forest thrush, while AGAIN is potent and knotty, like the restless inner workings of Lutlao’s mind.
Through their music, but also through their lifestyle that’s alternative to America’s economic and political systems, Lutalo asks listeners to imagine new possibilities: “I want to help people question the way they’re living so we can create a better reality for us to exist in together.”