Premiering today exclusively on magnetmagazine.com is “Sleep Child,” a thrilling folk number from Nick Jaina’s upcoming seventh solo release. A Bird In The Opera House is out April 13 on Hush Records and was apparently written in and inspired by a variety of locales ranging from sunny California to snowy Oregon. Since the album is so rooted in the West Coast, Jaina and his band will spend the month of April touring the left side of the country in support of the release.
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
On the topic of live performance in unexpected contexts: here we have Ritchie Young entertaining public transit-goers on Portland’s semi-iconic MAX train performing “Wax And Wire” from the stellar Night Bats EP.
The trend of impromptu musical performances in ‘street’ contexts captured on video may have started in the old country but Portland’s Penny Jam and San Fran’s upstart Left | Right Hand and more recently Seattle’s OnePot.org with a hand from Chase Jarvis put their west coast spin on the concept. See Ritchie Young performing at an improvised dining event at Sand Point Naval Air Station, Seattle, WA.
We want you see our artists play, because we believe that if you do, you will find them as moving as we do. To that end we are anouncing HUSHtv and reminding you of HUSHcast Live.
HUSHtv: what is it? Like YouTube but without the extra junk. Plus it’s so cute. Well over 100 performances at your fingetips:
And updated for your pod-like devices. Take our roster on tour in your pocket for on the go show-going. Likewise over 100 performances at your fingetips, in your pocket:
Local Cut got the scoop on the lead track from La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha out Jan 12, 2010 on HUSH, and had these illuminating comments:
Rauelsson recorded the core of his new record—everything but the vocals, really—at Type Foundry studios in the fall/winter last year with the help of friends and producers Adam Selzer and Dave Depper (Norfolk & Western), and you can hear the seasonal touch. La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha is a mostly acoustic album, and “Debutantes” even forgoes percussion (except for a little sleigh bells in the background) for atmosphere. The light touch, then, is supplied by Rauelsson’s expansive voice, one that’s so pretty that you don’t really care that he’s singing in a foreign language.