The full length record, Half Empty, will be released digitally in five parts, before being released on vinyl on March 27 on Fika Recordings and the Norwegian label Furuberget. These songs are the first release from Little Hands of Asphalt since 2012. And the band picks up the thread where they left off; low-key pearls with hints of indie and Americana, but primarily classic, timeless pop.
The Little Hands of Asphalt are Sjur Lyseid's solo project, whom released two records and a couple of EPs in the period 2009-2012. Floors, from 2012, received critical acclaim in Lyseid’s home of Norway, and was voted the sixth best record of the year in the Norwegian national newspaper VG. Press praised Lyseid's melodic qualities; and was been frequently highlighted as one of Norway's sharpest songwriters in English. The band toured most major festivals in Norway, and a lot on the continent. Since then, the project has been quiet, and Lyseid has primarily worked as a producer and songwriter for other artists at this Six Feet Over studios in Oslo. Now he's back in front of the glass, with what may be the project's strongest songs ever.
Lyseid introduces the closing track to Side A:
Random Quotes About F.
I'm a pretentious dude. To me, pretention was always the mother of invention. Trying to reach for something, trying to be something you're not, trying to be cooler than you are. While being a double edged sword, this pretention has also allowed me to write songs about the strangest of subject matters: The disruption of the Gulf stream. Competing astronomical theories of an expanding vs a pulsating universe. Waterfront development. Nuclear scare. The list goes on, along with all those songs about girls, bars, bands and cars, of course (I told you I was trying to be cooler than I am).
However, I think Random Quotes is my weirdest literary approach to songwriting yet. This song consists almost entirely of quotes from someone's social media profile. Someone I have no relation to, or know in real life. - A picture of Einstein in high heels. Anxieties and medication. An unhealthy, yet fascinating obsession with gardening and insects. - I think we've all seen those people, the ones who share too much and yet so little, watching someone dwindle down a downward spiral, as we give in to our voyeurism and self affirmation.
Someone asked me what this song is about. Sometimes, as songwriters, we just don't know, but we can still find beauty and meaning in a song and in a lyric. I know this to be the case as a listener as well. But, hard pressed for an answer, I muttered something like: "Maybe it's about the disintegration and representation of self in the times we live in" (like I said, a pretentious dude). Maybe it is, or maybe it's just about trying to find said beauty and meaning in that disintegration.
This was also one of those songs that was almost fully formed in my head before I sat down with an instrument. Melodies, structure and even most of the lyrics. That used to be such a rare thing for me, but on Half Empty, it's been the norm. Which I think lends these songs a kind of simplistic urgency.
However, there's always been a clear difference to me between writing songs and composing songs. Not that any approach is more valid than the other. "Random Quotes" was written, the next one is definitely a composition more than anything. On that note, I'll let other people pick up the pen and write about it. Writing about writing about writing about music.