For working musicians, there’s a level of fatigue that just comes with the job.
Now that The Corner Laughers all have children, “we’re exhausted 99.9 percent of the time,” says singer and ukulele player Karla Kane, who’s raising her daughter with husband-bassist Khoi Huynh. (Drummer Charlie Crabtree has a young son, while guitarist KC Bowman is a father of two.)
Even so, the members of the literate Northern California band have had enough energy in recent years for music-related activities.
“Rehearsals, recording sessions, bookings and tours have to be scheduled with child care, naps, nursing and more in mind, but we’ve managed to make it work so far,” says Kane. “The good news is babies — or at least ours — love music, and it’s a lot of fun when they’re able to be there when we play.”
With that in mind, Kane says The Corner Laughers have made an effort to book their share of shows at family-friendly venues such as museums, libraries and parks. (She’s quick to point out that oftentimes those gigs pay more than ones in typical rock venues.)
The Corner Laughers don’t play children’s music, but it’s easy to envision kids gravitating toward the band’s melodies, hooks and Kane’s voice, with adults appreciating those elements along with the lyrical breadth and overall songcraft.
Matilda Effect (Mystery Lawn Music) is the latest Corner Laughers album and the third one they’ve done with Allen Clapp (best known as a member of The Orange Peels and the Allen Clapp Orchestra). The making of Matilda Effect was “a patchwork, global process,” Kane says. Sessions took place in California at Clapp’s now-former Silicon Valley studio, his current facility in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Kane’s home in Redwood City and Bowman’s studio in Oakland, as well as in Berlin, Germany, where guest and frequent collaborator Anton Barbeau did his synthesizer and vocal tracks for “Midsommar.”
Another guest on Matilda Effect (due June 12) is a Persian cat named Wazu, whose purring can be heard at the end of a song titled “Lammas Land.”
“I think he hopped up on the table while we were recording it and cozied up to the microphone,” Kane says of her cat. “He added another layer of hypnosis to an already hypnotic part.”
— By Chris M. Junior
The Corner Laughers on tour (schedule subject to change):
• June 12: KZSU-FM (on-air appearance at 8 a.m. PT)
• July 3: Shine — Sacramento, Calif.
• July 25: Starry Plough Pub — Berkeley, Calif.
• July 31: Devil’s Canyon Brewery — San Carlos, Calif.
• Aug. 27: Conor Byrne Pub — Ballard, Wash.
• Aug. 28: Portland Abbey Arts — Portland, Ore.
• Aug. 29: Music Millennium — Portland, Ore. (in-store performance)
The Corner Laughers, from left to right: Khoi Huynh, Karla Kane, Charlie Crabtree and KC Bowman (Photo by Ray Lin)