NPR premieres new Emily Wells song “Los Angeles”

By on April 8, 2013



NPR has premiered the new Emily Wells single, “Los Angeles,” off her forthcoming album, Mama Acoustic Recordings (out June 11th). The plaintive, heartbreaking arrangement, says Wells, is “a song about friendship, longing, and love of the city and the ones you loved there.” Her 2012 release, Mama, says NPR, was a “surprising and beautiful mix of hip-hop beats and strings, with folk-flavored pop arrangements. Now Wells is back with a re-imagined, all-acoustic version of Mama, with the songs stripped bare and her voice more fragile than ever.”

Mama Acoustic Recordings is a kind of accidental album, recorded last year while Wells was on self-described “sabbatical” living with friends in Portland, Oregon. Wells began experimenting with her traveling reel-to-reel, recording gentle new versions of  “Mama’s Gonna Give You Love” and “Johnny Cash’s Mama’s House” with just her voice and acoustic guitar (and beloved Fostex Spring Reverb unit). Peeling off her own ornate production, she revealed her songs to herself, exposing new meaning though stark minimalism.

Before long Wells had recorded 10 tracks – including one new song, single “Los Angeles.” The naked renditions of Mama highlights like “Passenger” and “Fire Song” were both striking and subtle, reminiscent of such iconic works of pastoral folk as Karen Dalton’s classic In My Own Time and Iron & Wine’s The Creek Drank The Cradle (like Mama Acoustic Recordings, its hushed tone determined by others sleeping in the next room).

Wells’ unaccompanied efforts were complimented by a series of collaborative undertakings alongside a remarkably varied range of artists. She penned “Becomes The Color” to serve as closing theme to Chan-Wook Park’s acclaimed psychological thriller, Stoker, while her teaming with the film’s score composer, Clint Mansell, “If I Ever Had A Heart,” is featured as a bonus cut on the official soundtrack. As if that weren’t enough, 2013 has also seen the long awaited release of Pillowfight, Wells’ slinky partnership with the one and only Dan the Automator.  


1. Passenger 

2. Darlin’ 

3. Los Angeles 

4. No Good 

5. Johnny Cash’s Mama’s House 

6. Mama’s Gonna Give You Love 

7. Let Your Guard Down 

8. Fire Song 

9. Dirty Sneakers & Underwear  

10. Piece of It


Tour Dates:

4/7 – Iowa City, IA – Mission Creek Festival

5/1 – Mechanicsburg, PA – Larsen Student Union at Messiah College

5/2 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt

5/3 – Buffalo, NY – Ninth Ward

5/5 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern

5/8 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick Lounge

5/9 – Indianapolis, IN – Radio Radio

5/10 – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s

5/16 – Arlington, VA – IOTA Club & Café

5/17 – Blairstown, NJ – Historic Blairstown Theater

6/13 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo

6/14 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

6/19 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile

6/20 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge

6/21 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive

8/8 – Hart, MI – Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (Main Stage)


Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.