Friday, March 22, 2013

Julie Byrne on Orindal Records

This single from Julie Byrne shouldn’t have been able to catch me off guard. I should have been prepared for a certain amount of heartbreak coming from one of its greatest agents, Owen Ashworth and his Orindal Records imprint. It says a lot that she’s practically the only artist other than Owen on the label, and the endorsement is deserved.

A-Side’s "Holiday" taps into that grown up heartwrench, it’s moved beyond the chaotic angst of youth. Julie is right in that sweet spot of acceptance, the saddest kind of sorrow, when you realize it’s no use fighting anymore, lay down. Fighting it is a younger generations game. She’s laying this all out there in a beautiful, high, acoustic fingerpicking and cavernous reverb laying out pained situations in lower end Stevie Nicks register. It’s reminding of the place Elliott Smith immediately goes, right in that tiny closet off the bedroom, no room to move, a bare bulb with a knotty string dangling overhead and the middle of the night intimate quitting. Nothing is going to end well opening with the line, “We met in New York city on New Years day”. That’s going to be the beginning of a disaster. There are the hopes and dreams of new years and new people but (and it ALWAYS comes with a but) you know where this is inevitably going because of its delivery. That low end vocal it isn’t self conscious of being pretty, which can really take you out of a sentiment this raw if they’re trying to hit the right notes and remember what vocal coaches taught you. I'm all for training as a musician, but there's a point when you have to forget all those lessons. This is all the more perfect in a tiny dose, like the Angeles single of Elliott’s years ago, its almost bizarre how little it wants to be a part of the latest scene.
"Marmalade" continues to keep the acoustic guitar interesting and this side is a combination of Vashti Bunyon, and Chan Marshall…with something of a low southern drawl and Oldham sense of style. Her vocal is beautiful but that's besides the fact, like this guitar playing, it takes you right into an introspective place but the emotion carries this to another level. These two tracks should convince anyone that an entire album worth of this would be amazing. I didn't want to go here but unexpectedly it's like dad putting down the dog, you just didn’t see it coming. It shouldn't work like this and both tracks are truly, truly heartbreaking. I've been waiting to hear the “Cross Bones style” torch picked up again, and she's running with it. Recorded by Owen, almost exactly a year ago, she’s the kind of musician who can remind you that a simple acoustic guitar and restrained abstract vocals will always be the best sound in the world.

Pressed on an aqua green vinyl, screened red ink sleeves on grainy heavy paper, lyrics on
the inside, from Orindal Records.

Julie is currently on tour and even supporting Advance Base on a few of his dates.

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