The Weather Station
Tamara Lindeman, aka the Weather Station, is one of Canada’s best songwriters. On her gorgeous 2015 album, Loyalty, she was careful and exacting, almost perfectionist in her writing. Her self-produced, selftitled fourth album sees Lindeman boldly blurting out seemingly everything with new abandon in a rapid-fire flurry. It features synths and flying, nose-diving strings conveying a giddy romp full of intense feeling. Not only did Lindeman produce the album, recording in Montreal at Hotel2Tango with a core band of Don Kerr (drums) and Ben Whiteley (bass), but for the first time, she wrote her own string parts — and they sound almost as natural and integral as her vocals, which alternate between hushed bluesy talk-singing in the vein of Laura Marling and smooth, breathy high notes. Also prominent are Ryan Driver’s flute and Ben Boye’s keyboards and skronky electric guitar alongside the acoustic songs. The Weather Station is Lindeman’s loosest, most confident album yet, but it may also prove to be her most deeply psychological. Alongside the ups and downs of her own relationship, she tackles her parents’ divorce, her rela-
The secret weapon on Yarrow may be Saskatchewan duo Kacy & Clayton, as Kacy Anderson’s haunted backing vocals drift throughout the record, giving this multidimensional album even more breadth. Although only 38 minutes long, the album’s slightly weaker moments — like the too-precious “Roll Julia” and “San Juan Hill” — stick out a bit more than they should, there’s simply so much to love here that it hardly matters. (Six Shooter, sixshooterrecords.com) tionship with her father and ideas about being free and coming into her own, finding her power — all against the backdrop of uncertain, stressful times. (Outside, outside-music.com)
What was the most challenging part of this record?
These songs were really hard to sing. I wrote them, obviously, and then when we were recording, I just couldn’t do it cause it was so hard to breathe. I had to learn how to breathe differently cause there are so many words. Over time I learned how to sing them and now I can sing them any time. But they were really challenging.
You had a long list of different album titles, but you didn’t want to colour it.
It felt like any title I gave it would pin it down to one of the many things that it is. Not giving it a title felt more free, or felt like it could be bigger. Loyalty felt like a cool skeleton key that unlocked aspects of songs that you might not have noticed. But this one was like, I don’t want to be pinned down to one thing.
sounds. Nineteen85 provides a range of tempos and sounds for Daley to sing over throughout, which displays how much dvsn have grown.
Daley demonstrates his vocal prowess on tracks such as “Mood” and “P.O.V.,” though lyrically, the group stick to the staple R&B topics of love, sex and heartbreak. More interesting lyrics would have really set the album apart, but that’s a small complaint. With the cohesive and captivating Morning After, dvsn have used soothing vocals and layered beats to paint a sonic portrait of modern R&B. (OVO Sound, ovosound.com) MODERN COMPOSITION
Mechanics of Dominion
A sequel of sorts to 2015’s Lost Voices,
Esmerine’s latest offers a dynamic response to the dire state of the world we’re bound to in eight crossover chamber pieces. “The Space in Between” sets the tone with a dramatic neoclassical lament, the title evoking the mounting frequency of so-called natural disasters. The piece rolls out like a soundtrack for climate change, at first plodding then hurtling, passages reflecting a world spun out of control. “La Lucha Es Una Sola” echoes its sombre environment in its depressed drones, but if this is the beginning of the end, there’s the suggestion of hope in a twinkling music box, and as a curious marimba starts to bubble underneath it all, a trumpeting horn and tension-shattering drums march steadily onward. While casting a doubtful lens on destructive one-percenter policy-making, the album reiterates Lost Voices’ emphasis on community and diversity, welcoming a cast of guests — Godspeed You! Black Emperor violinist Sophie Trudeau and album engineer Jace Lasek (of Besnard Lakes) both make return appearances — larger than the team behind 2013’s Dalmak, while the bulk of the album explores new sounds and instrumentation. It’s a delicate, cautious demonstration, but Mechanics of Dominion is a bold, gripping and brilliantly nuanced addition to Esmerine’s gorgeous catalogue. (Constellation, cstrecords.com)