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SXSW ’09 Pick: Telekinesis


The plucky power pop on Telekinesis’ self-titled debut record has us pogo-ing around the office and stoked to see them at Austin’s South by Southwest music conference later this month. But the album-closing “I Saw Lightning,” available here as an exclusive stream, takes a more subdued, delicate tact, and helps make the 11-song set even more appealing.

The track finds Seattle’s Michael Benjamin Lerner, the main man behind Telekinesis, missing his girlfriend, who lives 3,000 miles away in North Carolina, and imagining a reunion where the couple goes off the grid to spend time alone watching raindrops on windowsills. Lerner keeps the mood light with sweet lyrics: “I wanna care for you when you are all alone / Sit inside our house and unplug all the phones.””It’s really just a hopeful song,” Lerner tells “Rather than feeling down about being so far away from each other, I was trying to write a song about how lovely it’s going to be when we can finally be together.”

Lerner worked with Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla to produce, mix, and engineer his first effort, recording one song per day on analog tape. Lerner remembers the rainy day that “Lightning” was recorded: “I recorded the initial demo version to this old mono Wollensak tape machine that belonged to my father when he was a kid,” he said. “The song was totally inspired by that specific rainy day. I just remember it being so typically Seattle.”

Listen: Telekinesis, “I Saw Lightning”