Cassandra Jenkins - An Overview on Phenomenal Nature

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I don't know anything about Cassandra Jenkins - should I? - but I've been playing this on repeat:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW8XoovSlsM

Nothing else I've since played by her seems quite as good but I could be playing the wrong things. Any pointers?

And wave if the album is all this good ...

djh, Friday, 12 February 2021 22:14 (three weeks ago) link

“Hard Drive” is one of my favorite songs of the year, was expecting the album to be Kaputt 2.0 based on the sound palette of that one but the two other songs released so far aren’t really similar.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 12 February 2021 22:34 (three weeks ago) link

Oh, hadn't heard the third single:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SxE2Hr64pY

djh, Saturday, 13 February 2021 22:44 (three weeks ago) link

Weird - the first five shops I looked for this had sold out.

djh, Sunday, 21 February 2021 15:57 (two weeks ago) link

Saw her play live a couple times, good stuff.

calstars, Sunday, 21 February 2021 16:10 (two weeks ago) link

This album is so good, I’ve had it on constant play all weekend. Just lovely. I went back and listened to the previous one, and it’s good and you can see where this came from, but the new one is a leap in all kinds of ways.

The rest of the (very short) album is more conventional than “Hard Drive,” but really the whole album flows as a unified work, with “Hard Drive” at the center and an amazing instrumental called “The Ramble” at the end. (A Central Park shout-out I assume, full of bird calls.)

It warrants a few plays. By which I mean, Hard Drive aside, it took a few plays to land with me.

djh, Sunday, 21 February 2021 19:05 (two weeks ago) link

The instrumentation here, the weave of sax and flute and guitar reverb, feels organic to the music but also unexpected. I mentioned Astral Weeks on the Indie thread, the other thing it puts me in mind of in some ways is Kate Bush’s Aerial — it doesn’t really sound like either of those, but it shares a kind of transcendental vibe.

Rolling INDIE 2021

here's the discussion from the indie thread, hadn't realise someone had made a thread already

really great album, totally sublime. it does have a similar sort of transcendental sunset vibe to aerial, i get the comparison. for me it's like someone let a folk album dissolve into the backing band from kaputt.

ufo, Monday, 22 February 2021 02:09 (two weeks ago) link

transcendental sunset is my new favorite subgenre.

This is good, it kind of reminds me of the first Eleanor Friedberger album - what with the saxophone, personal narratives, etc. (plus the mention of the Inn of the Seventh Ray).

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Monday, 22 February 2021 17:31 (two weeks ago) link

Knowing next to nothing about Jenkins, I hadn't clocked the David Berman connection - presumably the "David" in "New Bikini" but possibly not.

djh, Monday, 22 February 2021 22:46 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, I read an interview with her where she talked about that. That is a reference to Berman, although it doesn't sound like they were exactly close — he had recruited her for his touring band, and she was really excited about it.

"Hard Drive" also makes me think of late '80s / early '90s Lou Reed – can't put my figure on specifically what song or album – but it's the sing-speak thing, plus the sax and other elements of the musical setting. Feels like a nice touchpoint for an NYC-based singer/songwriter...

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 17:35 (one week ago) link

Reminds me a bit of Mister Heartbreak-era Laurie Anderson, not miles away from '80s Lou.

I also thought a little of early Suzanne Vega (another New Yorker)

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 18:08 (one week ago) link

That dry, precise, self-aware diction

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 18:17 (one week ago) link

Yep. She's a downtown gal, basically.

the second half (last 4 tracks) of this is gorgeous

gman59, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 20:34 (one week ago) link

Yea this is an amazing late 80’s art pop album: Siberry, Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Stina Nordenstam... drenched in something like Lanois reverb. Lovely.

akm, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 05:56 (one week ago) link

Not to accuse it of plagarism or unoriginality, just pointing out the palette

akm, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 05:56 (one week ago) link

I was checking out her earlier stuff; really liked the 2013 EP.

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 06:25 (one week ago) link

it's a little more restrained than most of those 80s artpop albums but i hear the connection to that lineage

ufo, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 08:25 (one week ago) link

i was completely unfamiliar with stina nordenstam before though and i'm listening to and she closed her eyes right now and it's great!

ufo, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 10:34 (one week ago) link

oh you are in for a treat, wait til you get to the follow-up Dynamite

boxedjoy, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 11:20 (one week ago) link

Gosh, the final track of Jenkins's 2013 EP ("Birthday Song") is just gorgeous:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4GbcmMoIDo

Reminds me a little of some of Nico Case's more languorous stuff. There's a beautiful moment in the middle where she sings "They waltz into... a room of darkness"; and the music shifts into to waltz time.

Her 2017 LP seems more... '70s style? I'm not connecting with that one as much.

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 21:59 (one week ago) link

I listened to those EPs last night too, I really like them! thank you for this thread, I found a new artist that I really like.

akm, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 23:33 (one week ago) link

Haven't listened to the early EPs yet, I need to. I agree on the '17 album, it seemed nice but didn't grab me.

I also love the thematic through-line of this album, of loss and grief and recovery. It's there from literally the first line and recurs over and over in ways that seem both sad and hopeful. Very much a COVID album even if it's not specifically about COVID.

The 2018 EP ("Live in Foxen Canyon") is really nice... most of the songs are from the LP, but they breathe more in this setting.

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Thursday, 25 February 2021 20:57 (one week ago) link

love her voice

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Thursday, 25 February 2021 20:59 (one week ago) link

The penultimate track on the LP is a jam -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWffzwmK4Ww

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Friday, 26 February 2021 18:21 (one week ago) link

“Hard Drive” sound palette is definitely 80’s but the half sung half spoken vocals remind me of something from the Morr label like Lali Puna. It’s killing me that the “one two three” reminds me strongly of another song which I have in the tip of my tongue and I can’t quite place it.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Friday, 26 February 2021 19:54 (one week ago) link

Interesting piece - turns out she has played w/Eleanor Friedberger: https://pitchfork.com/features/rising/cassandra-jenkins-an-overview-on-phenomenal-nature-interview/

stuck in the version layer (morrisp), Monday, 1 March 2021 23:50 (one week ago) link

And with Uncle Earl, too. Her family sounds interesting.

Is this widely available (in the UK) yet? CD seems to have been on order for an age ...

djh, Saturday, 6 March 2021 12:09 (two days ago) link


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