Basia Bulat

Tall Tall Shadow, the third album by Toronto singer-songwriter Basia Bulat, is the bravest album she has made. Raw and spectral, heartbroken yet jubilant, these ten songs tell the story of a very hard year in the artist's life and all the love that helped her through it.

Whereas the singer's past two LPs, including 2008's Polaris-nominated Oh, My Darling, were made in Montreal's all-analogue Hotel 2 Tango studio, Tall Tall Shadow is a more modern thing. This is a record with echo and reverb, electronic flutters and electric autoharp, voices that charge and incandesce around buzzing guitars, lonely piano and rattling percussion.

To get to this place, Bulat co-produced the album with Tim Kingsbury and Mark Lawson. Kingsbury, a member of Arcade Fire, "can play anything," she says. Lawson, who has worked on records with Akron/Family and Colin Stetson, and who won a Grammy for his work on Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, is a studio alchemist; "he hears [new\ things" in Bulat's songs.

They started recording in Toronto, at a reverberating 60-year-old dance hall. Once again, Bulat put together a band: her brother, the punk-inclined drummer Bobby Bulat; Holly Coish on keys and backing vocals; Kingsbury and Ben Whiteley on guitars and bass. One song features Whiteley's father, the folk legend Ken Whiteley, on gospel organ. But Tall Tall Shadow isn't acoustic folk music: like Beck's Sea Change or Buckingham Nicks, chord and strum are a launchpad for wilder sounds.

Bulat's goal was to keep challenging herself. "Promise Not to Think About Love," with shimmying bass and dancing handclaps, is the poppiest track she has ever released. "It Can't Be You," played on an Andean charango, is one of the simplest. "Never Let Me Go" is all crescendo, a woman in a storm, and the title track reaches soaring for another day: has there ever been a better showcase for Bulat's powerhouse voice? For her steam-train heart?

"Two months before I was due to begin recording, I suffered a deep loss," Bulat says. "I kind of started over." She started; and she didn't stop.

For years now, the chameleon that is Kate Faust has been lighting up the Philadelphia music scene with her incredible vocal presence. Finally, she has stepped out on her own with her debut EP, Crucial Companion. Her brand of electro-pop draws on the sounds of Bjork and Little Dragon. Faust makes good on these influences and expands on them, crafting a sound all her own as she meshes her stunning vocals with driving beats and beautiful harmonic textures. Her songs reach a level of intimacy that can’t help but draw in the listener, as her tender and sensual voice entice the imagination.

Key tracks would be the incredibly endearing and catchy first track “Bring on the Healing,” with the arresting and ethereal, “Crucial Companion” not far behind. To catch the surprising depth and soulfulness of Faust’s voice, be sure to listen to “Heartbeat.”

With this strong debut, as well as a new EP in the works, Faust is an artist to keep on your radar.

$10.00 - $12.00

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Basia Bulat with Kate Faust

Wednesday, November 20 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Boot & Saddle