Maureen Toth speaks truth to powerful Liars in her darkly intense new folk-rock single — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Set in an rich atmospheric nightscape of noirish guitars, haunting sonics and and gently galloping percussion, the earthy yet elegant lead track from the L.A. singer-songwriter’s upcoming EP Chiaroscuro lives up to the disc’s title, shining a light on the cynical, shadowy figures who manipulate misinformation to keep us deluded and divided — all so they can amass profits and power:
“Lie to me
Till I Just can’t see
Lie to me
Tell me I am free
“Keep them ignited
Keep them feeling used
Keep them affronted
Slighted, wounded and bruised
“Make them believe
That their power lies
In their right to foment
In their right to despise.”
“Liars points to reckless media that can play fast and loose with people’s emotions for its own ends,” Toth elaborates. “It relays how the truth has become flexible and malleable. To find the strength to see it all clearly you have to trust yourself and your own best instincts — that is really the gift — so keep giving.”
Along with Toth’s dynamic vocals and urgent lyrics, the track features multi-instrumentalist and producer Carlos Calvo, along with drummer Marc Slutsky. Paul Smith engineered and mixed, while Evren Goknar handled the mastering.
Due Sept. 24, Chiaroscuro is the fifth release from Toth, who was raised on New York’s Long Island and attended Boston University, where she studied voice and began to develop her style and range. After getting her degree, she attended theatre school in Manhattan and then relocated to the Bay Area, where she continued to pursue her musical interests before transplanting to Los Angeles in 2000.
Once in L.A., she stepped into the vibrant singer-songwriter scene and met Bernie Larsen, a renowned touring guitarist for Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge, Rickie Lee Jones, Jackson Browne and David Lindley. The two began collaborating which resulted in 2010’s, Shine, a 10-song mix of nuanced Americana and lyric-driven melodies. Cut Flowers, an introspective EP produced by Jim McGorman (Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stefani), followed in 2016, with Blur, a road-ready, rock-leaning co-production with Calvo (David Duchovny, Adam Levine) and Smith (Lucinda Williams, Bright Eyes) dropping in 2019.
During the pandemic, Toth crafted Chiaroscuro, an artistic treatment examining the themes of contrasting light and shadow created by this challenging period in human history. The collection’s centerpiece is the majestic Con Té (With You), which finds Toth singing also in Italian, inspired by the emotional time in Italy when the pandemic first took hold.
Championed by Women of Substance Radio, the inherent quality in Toth’s forthright material has drawn comparison to Patty Griffin, Joni Mitchell and Shelby Lynne. She will unveil Chiaroscuro at an EP release show Friday at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles.