Laura Veirs — Carbon Glacier
♦ Alternative singer/songwriter who has displayed enviable verbal skills to match her intricate arrangements and superb musicianship.
Birth name: Laura Pauline Veirs
Born: October 24, 1973, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado ~~ Portland OR, U.S.
Album release: August 24, 2004
Record Label: Nonesuch / Bella Union
01. Ether Sings 3:45
02. Icebound Stream 3:04
03. Rapture 3:07
04. Lonely Angel Dust 2:38
05. The Cloud Roam 2:53
06. Wind Is Blowing Stars 2:44
07. Shadow Blues 4:21
08. Anne Bonny Rag 2:16
09. Snow Camping 3:12
10. Chimney Sweeping Man 3:13
11. Salvage a Smile 1:52
12. Blackened Anchor 2:06
13. Riptide 4:17
℗ 2004 Nonesuch Records Inc.
♦ Laura Veirs 1 – 11, 13
♦ Eyvind Kang / Tucker Martine / Laura Veirs 12
♦ Karl Blau Bass, Bass Instrument, Drums, Guitar, Percussion, Saxophone, Synthesizer, Vocals
♦ Pete Erickson Design
♦ Lori Goldston Cello, Main Personnel
♦ Eyvind Kang Composer, Main Personnel, Viola
♦ Keith Lowe Bass (Upright)
♦ Tucker Martine Audio Engineer, Audio Production, Composer, Drums, Engineer, Mixing, Percussion, Producer, Treatments
♦ Steve Moore Organ, Piano, Trombone, Vibraphone
♦ Roger Seibel Mastering
♦ Laura Veirs Banjo, Banjo–Ukelele, Composer, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Vocals © Photo credit: David Belisle
♦ On her Nonesuch debut Carbon Glacier, Laura Veirs re–imagines folk music in a bravely boundary–crossing way, employing the genre as a jumping–off point to create an intimate, affecting sound entirely her own. The Independent described it as “a benchmark by which future Americana releases will be judged.” Uncut simply declared Carbon Glacier Veirs' “first masterpiece”.
By L. Fleisher on May 26, 2005; Score: *****
♦ Carbon Glacier is one of those rare, perfect albums that drew me in at first listen — clean, intricate guitar work augmented by layers of gorgeous, emotionally evocative melody and visually potent lyrics.
♦ Although I'm admittedly indifferent to most lyrics, unless they are flat–out brilliant or just plain embarrassing, Veirs' render me spellbound, conjuring tangible, poetic images that convey the intimacy of shared, deeply personal thoughts, but somehow manage to avoid being even remotely confessional or self–referential. Her unusual vocal phrasing makes her gently gothic Americana–tinged narratives all the more engaging.
♦ With complex, surprising and fresh arrangements and intelligent instrumentation provided by a group of top–notch collaborators, Veirs easily transcends the trappings of the usually ho–hum "singer–songwriter" genre and emerges as an important and distinctive voice in an ever–swelling sea of musical mediocrity.
♦ It's not every day you discover music that defies easy comparison. Thank god for artists like Laura Veirs who make us hear the world differently. (Amazon)
Review by James Christopher Monger; Score: ****½
♦ Laura Veirs' Seattle is not a city plagued by rain and enormous bowls of coffee; rather, it's a metropolitan snow globe trapped in a solid sheet of ice. The 13 songs that make up her fourth album (and Nonesuch debut), Carbon Glacier, rely on Veirs' free associating motor–mouth imagery to dig them out the tundra, and it's a testament to her skills as an interpreter that the majority of them break through. That's also thanks in part to the intricate arrangements and superb musicianship from her "Tortured Souls," Steve Moore, Karl Blau, and producer/drummer Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse). Martine allows the experimentation to bloom in all the right places, resulting in a record that never overworks itself, despite being packed to the gills with ghostly glockenspiels, organs, random percussion, and trombone. Veirs' hypnotic voice cuts through it all with deadpan sincerity — she's equally capable of pitch–perfect beauty ("Lonely Angel Dust") or tightrope uneasiness ("Icebound Stream") — that comes off somewhere between Nina Nastasia and Jolie Holland. Her ability to sound as comfortable singing over grungy and compressed drum loops as she does on simple folk tunes is admirable, and it makes all of the genre–hopping exceptionally fluid. Even at her warmest, she exudes a certain collegiate coolness, and when Carbon Glacier begins to drag — and it does near the end — Veirs manages to retain and command a level of anticipation/fascination that's the mark of a true artist. :: http://www.allmusic.com/
By Neil Robertson; March 11, 2004; Score: 7.7
LAURA VEIRS BIOGRAPHY
♦ Laura Veirs grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she often spent summers camping with her family, which gave her much of her songwriting inspiration. Veirs has said that she didn’t seriously listen to music until she was in her 20s; instead, she just heard what was in her environment. She listened to folk, country, classical and pop music around the house and on the radio during her youth.
Attending Carleton College in rural Minnesota, Veirs latched onto feminist punk rock from the Pacific Northwest. Laura studied geology and Mandarin Chinese. After college, she embraced older country and folk music. Her first foray into songwriting started with a geological expedition in China, where she served as translator. She was miserable and immersed herself into writing lyrics as a way of coping.
♦ She put out her own self–titled album Laura Veirs, recorded live and featuring just her and guitar, in 1999. She has since made seven highly acclaimed records with producer/husband Tucker Martine. Veirs’ seventh album, July Flame, was released in January 2010 on her own record label, Raven Marching Band Records, followed by “Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs for Children,” in November 2011. Her latest release on August 20th, 2013 is “Warp and Weft”.
♦ Veirs tours frequently in Europe and North America. She lives in Portland, Oregon with Martine and their young sons Tennessee and Oz.
WARP & WEFT BIOGRAPHY
♦ From one of the country’s most inimitable songwriters — Portland, Oregon’s Laura Veirs — comes her ninth full–length album. Beautiful, lush and at times deeply dark, “Warp and Weft” captures the intensity of motherhood, love and violence. Primarily electric–guitar driven, it is a fever dream of an album and could well be Veirs’ best work to date. It builds on the uniform praise and commercial success of 2010’s “July Flame,” which Utne Reader dubbed “idiosyncratic and captivating” and received glowing reviews from The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR and others.
♦ The recording of “Warp and Weft” (a weaving term) was a community effort. Produced in Portland in March 2013 by Veirs’ longtime collaborator Tucker Martine, the album features Jim James, kd lang, Neko Case, Brian Blade and members of The Decemberists and many more.
♦ Veirs sings not only of mid–winter suns, white blossoming cherry trees and melting ice, but also suicide, gun violence and war. She weaves threads of old folk songs including “Motherless Children” as well as stories of folk–art hero Howard Finster and jazz harpist Alice Coltrane. “I think of this record as a tapestry where disparate elements come together and are stronger and more lovely as a result,” says Veirs.
♦ Veirs was eight months pregnant with her second child during the recording; she says her experience as a mother brought about some of the more beautiful and painful songs. “I’m haunted by the idea that something terrible could happen to my kids but that fear pushes me to embrace the moment. This record is an exploration of extremes — deep, dark suffering and intense, compassionate love.”
♦ “Laura makes such complicated melodies sound easy,” says Neko Case. ♦ “The first listen is so comforting and warm, then after two or three listens, the time when you wanna start singing along, you are struck by the thoughtful work that went into making the sounds; the twists and turns she makes like a light gazelle. It’s masterful; as a listener, it makes me feel loved. As a musician it makes me feel challenged and engaged. It’s a complete protein!”
♦ “Warp and Weft” has been released on Veirs’ own Raven Marching Band Records (North America) and Bella Union (rest of the world) on August 20, 2013. Veirs will tour with a full band in the fall in the US and Europe.
◊ Laura Veirs, Raven Marching Band Records, 1999
◊ The Triumphs and Travails of Orphan Mae, Raven Marching Band Records, 2001, Bella Union, 2005
◊ Troubled by the Fire, Bella Union, 2003
◊ Carbon Glacier, Bella Union (UK), February 2004, Nonesuch Records (US), August 2004
◊ Year of Meteors, Nonesuch Records, August 2005
◊ Saltbreakers, Nonesuch Records, April 2007
◊ July Flame, Raven Marching Band Records/Bella Union, January 2010
◊ Tumble Bee, November 8, 2011
◊ Warp and Weft, August 20, 2013
◊ Two Beers Veirs, Raven Marching Band Records, 2008
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