Saturday, September 29, 2018



FRONTPERSON are Kathryn Calder of the New Pornographers and Mark Andrew Hamilton, who has released six albums as Woodpigeon.

The nine songs on their debut are by turns lovely, haunting, fragile, and very sensible, with great singing and lyrics that read like short stories in verse. While most are about relationships, Hamilton’s same-sex, Calder’s "Long Night" marks the passage of time not just through years, but with every Sunday racing by to Monday, and in "Shorter Days" the winter. The music by and large is chamber folk/pop that reminds me of the band Winterpills in its hushed sadness and ultimate beauty.

If you’re a fan of either band, or of the other musicians who play on the album, you'll love this.Melissa McWilliams plays drums and drum machine, Jen Sévertson of Peach Pyramid plays bass, Clea Foofat of Raleigh and Dojo Workhorse plays cello, Foon Yap plays violin, and Marek Tyler of nêhiyawak plays percussion. This album is good for quiet, contemplative times, snow days and nights, late nights, and just as something different.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, September 24, 2018

Jill ,Sobule

Jill Sobule
Nostalgia Kills
Pinko Records

This is Jill’s first album in nine years. Her absence due to many things, including the death of her mom and a breakup, is now over with one of the best albums I’ve heard all year.

Overly spare, with rough instrumentation, there is also the bittersweet lightness of letting go. Anyone who’s ever seen Jill live, and her shows are not to be missed, knows what a wonderful guitar player she is, and the other musicians, whether playing horns, drums, or keyboards, match her.

John Doe has a wonderful cameo on “Tonight Is Breaking,” a song that reprises later as a fan duet with Nicholas Ford, who sings very well. The album was crowd funded, and one donation level perk was singing on the album. Both versions are wry and heartbreaking. Tonight is breaking because we’ll be gone tomorrow. Other people are honored on “The Donor Song,” which is self-explanatory.

Lyrically there seems to be a loose theme; isn’t life, and love, messy, even as there’s a wry, dry joy to it? There are songs about breakups, the closet, loose ends, how great someone almost was, and looking back with no regrets, despite wishing it could’ve been different and better.

The two covers put fine points on all of this, the Five Stairsteps' “Ooh Child” and Warren Zevon’s “Don’t Let Us Get Sick,” originally on a tribute album to him. Both are superb, and sweet. And finally, Jill’s singing is terrific.

Jill "Kissed A Girl" better and with more oomph than someone named Katy Perry did, and as with that song, the oomph is here, making this an album, just like her shows, not to be missed, and one that shouldn’t slip through the cracks.

Andrea Weiss


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