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Nick Jaina To Release “A Bird In The Opera House”

A Bird In The Opera House – April 13th

And now with this new record, A Bird In The Opera House. In a way it’s a spring in the opposite direction of A Narrow Way; A carefully crafted studio album. When the band got off of the road last year Nick moved into his friend Local Stuidio engineer Lee Howard’s house having been offered the opportunity to record in the studio he’d been building in the basement.” Nick moved into the little upstairs bedroom and started playing some of the electric guitars lying around the house, which ended up informing the pop-ier electric feel of the album. Later Lee gave Nick an old Kay guitar, the kind that Sears used to sell for fifty bucks and told him to keep it in his room for a week and write five new songs on it. Hence track two’s title, “Another Kay Song”

Nick made this album in the in-between moments, at the times that the studio was otherwise empty, or late at night when Lee wanted to try out a new amp or microphone. It was a gradual process, allowing Nick time to sit up in his room and think about the direction of the songs. To deconstruct them, and put them back together. To live in them without consequence. The result is an intimate album that is positive and upbeat but also rich and dark. It adventures, endeavors, reflects and drifts just like any great story.

Tracklist:

Sebastopol
Another Kay Song
Days In My Room
Sleep Child
I Don’t Believe You
Officer Schoppe
Theresa
Strawberry Man
Semoline
Matrimonial Bed
Asheville
Cincinnati

Rauelsson’s Stunning “Siembra…” Out Now

We are proud to release La Siembra, La Espera Y La Cosecha today, available exclusively on gorgeous gatefold, clear vinyl and digital download (with digital booklet)!  Available NOW in the HUSHshop.

Rauelsson – “La Siembra…” Sampler Mix

also The Debutantes EP, now also available for FREE in just for taking a test drive through the HUSHshop

Rauelsson – “Debutantes” Sampler Mix

Willamette Week rightly gushed:

[SPANISH FOLK] On his debut full-length album, La Siembra, La Espera Y La Cosecha, Spaniard Raúl Pastor Medall (a.k.a. Rauelsson) creates a set of orchestral folk songs about “the fragility of life and the immenseness of love as a response to such fragility.” Heavy stuff, especially considering the whole thing is sung in Spanish. The question, then, becomes one of transference: can an album with such a lofty ambition translate to an audience that (for the most part) doesn’t speak the language?

I’ll admit that I don’t understand a word Rauelsson sings on La Siembra, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel the weight of the songs. La Siembra is undoubtably a winter album; from the acoustic instrumentation that sounds like it was recorded next to a fireplace and the warm, earthy atmosphere, this is the type of music you want to hear while lying under a fleece blanket. Layered with a bed of delicate piano and strings, “La Calma” and album standout “Raíces (otro Aviso)” would hold up through any windstorm, but the delicate and noble arrangements only heighten the tension in Rauelsson’s voice. You can tell everything is not quite right, even without translating the lyrics.

Rauelsson—who now spends most of his time in the Northwest—recorded the bulk of the material at Hush Records headquarters Type Foundry with the assistance of Norfolk & Western’s Adam Selzer and Dave Depper. Besides guest spots from the familiar faces (Laura Gibson, Ritchie Young, Heather Broderick), it’s a relatively simple affair: just plinking pianos, soft hits of bass, barely there percussion and Rauelsson’s fluttering voice, which could hold my attention all by itself. In fact, after completing the basic tracks, Rauelsson returned to the Mediterranean countryside to track his vocals in an ancient stone-walled house. But no matter where it was finished, there’s no denying that he has a gift for conveying deep emotions through gorgeous folk songs. That’s one thing you don’t need to speak Spanish to understand.

Laura Gibson at Daytrotter

Laura Gibson

Go listen to this sessions and hundreds of others at Daytrotter.com, or for iPhone/Touch users via the Daytrotter App.

“Spirited”

Original version appears on Beasts of Seasons. A few summers ago, we found an old washtub in the antique store around the corner.  We bought it to use as a fire pit in the backyard, and there began a nightly ritual of sitting and watching the fire go out, tracing the smoke as it rose and weaved through the trees.  The summer passed so quickly, and as we observed the glowing embers melting into the black night, we often felt we were watching time slip from our grasp.  I wrote Spirited thinking of that washtub, of faces reflecting orange and gold, and of the longing to press ourselves inside of a moment as soon as we realize it is escaping us.  The washtub itself escaped us, borrowed by the neighbors to be returned the following spring.  Left to the autumn rain, it’s now a skeleton of rust and ash. (A note about the performance: The drums are a combination of Sean and Micah.  Micah masters the clickety-clack while Sean, is playing piano with one hand and Floor Tom and cymbal with the other).

“Where Have All Your Good Words Gone”

Original version appears on Beasts of Seasons.  Upon finding myself at a loss for words, always finding myself at a loss for words…  I decided to follow my frustration, and began thinking of mortality as having nothing left to offer the world – no rhymes, no poems, no words of kindness or clarity, no truths to pull from my gut.  Even more frightening, the idea of looking back and finding so many words wasted on sarcasm and half-truths.  It’s a terrifying way to think about death. (Note the live version is quite different from the recorded version, as it’s lacking the luminous viola of Eyvind Kang but features the haunting saw of Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie balancing melodica, ukelin and drums).

“Glory”

Original version appears on Beasts of Seasons.  Glory is a collection of images, moments of tenderness and reverence, of loss and of new life.  Not about my family exactly, but certainly reminding me of my family.

“O Frailty”

Original version appears on Bridge Carols. I don’t remember a moment of writing this song, but I have hummed and sang the melody to myself for a long time, with different lyrics floating through.  At some point, it just shaped itself into a song.  I had intended to include it in Beasts of Seasons.  But in the end, Beasts of Seasons was a record dwelling in the human body, where O Frailty seemed to dwell out in the stars.    It’s more of a cosmic view of mortality.  It ended up fitting perfectly in a collaboration with sound artist Ethan Rose (to be released this February).  The version with Ethan is much more fluttery, pitchy and strange, broken down after running it through a tape machine for several hours.  Sean and Micah and I sat down at the piano one day and came up with a more classical chorale approach.

“Funeral Song”

Original version appears on Funeral Song.  Despite the title, I’ll always consider this a love song.  Understanding love in a way that if death comes, I won’t fear the letting go, or being let go. Like most people, I often wonder if I’m capable of such love.  But I suppose the song is less a testimony of my own selflessness, and more a hope, or perhaps faith, that my love might be realized in this way.  Although it’s such a simple composition, I chipped away at Funeral Song for a long time, and of all the songs on Beasts of Seasons, it’s probably the most meaningful to me.  I hope to sing it as an old lady someday.

Beasts of Seasons Sweeps NPR’s Best of 2009!

Beasts-Of-Seasons

There was only one album that all three NPR Music producers agreed on for their top 10 list: Laura Gibson’s Beasts of Seasons. Here’s to the incredible staying power of a quiet record released in February. Get your copy here!

(#4) A slow-motion and passionate record, Beasts of Seasons asks a good deal from the listener. It takes time to dive into the world created by Laura Gibson and her collaborators, who include producer Tucker Martine and multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray. There’s a sad, ghostly tension in many of her songs; a languid beauty that feels as close to meditation as I may ever reach. I put this record in the same category as star-gazing. – Bob Boilen

(#5) Beasts of Seasons opens with a creeping, slow bloom of feedback and static. If it’s the sonic equivalent of darkness and what may be lurking there, then Laura Gibson‘s fragile voice and plaintively strummed guitar soon emerge as a flicker of light. It’s a mesmerizing contrast, as the curtain rises for Gibson’s arresting meditations on life and death. Producer Tucker Martine flawlessly executes this balancing act, pairing the beautiful with the gloomy to create a mysterious world of curiosities. – Robin Hilton

(#8) Laura Gibson seems to sing down into her own lungs, so quiet and delicate is her singing voice, but Beasts of Seasons isn’t as unassuming as it might seem at first. Split into two sides — marked “Communion Songs” and “Funeral Songs” — the album understandably divides its time between grieving and rejoicing, but it never radically deviates from elegant, impeccably arranged uneasiness. For all its muted grace, Beasts of Seasons isn’t afraid to pack a wallop into a whisper, as in “Where Have All Your Good Words Gone,” in which Gibson gently twists the knife: “Do you wish you were an honest man? Do you wish you were a better man?” – Stephen Thompson