(feat. track – “Two Years” [spotifyfrom Capes)

Jess Abbott only put out half an hour of music in 2011, but I’ve spent as much time listening to these two short releases as I have anything else this past year.  These days, it’s pretty rare that anything in the world of “indie” really connects with me, but there’s an undeniable beauty to their austerity that gets me every time.  Abbott imbues both her songs and her recordings with an incredible sense of intimacy, as though she were sitting just on the inside of your speaker, whispering out into the room. And yet, even when brought so close to them, her characters remain opaque, unknowable, like a mask removed to reveal a perfectly blank face. It’s a combination that just begs for repeated listens, like a puzzle you swear you’ve almost got figured out, a word on the tip of your tongue, a snippet of a lyric from a song you can’t recall.

But perhaps even above those virtues, Tancred’s albums (much like The Narrative’s self-titled album last year) inspired in me what I consider to be the best writing I’ve done this year. Their singular nature, their uniqueness pushed me to the edges of my descriptive abilities; there’s something intangible, or at least really hard to pin down, about Abbott’s compositions, a ghostliness that echoes the nature of the characters in her songs, and I feel like it’s all I can do to even begin to capture their essence. It’s art than not only entertains and provokes, but also actively challenges me to do better, to be better.  What more could I could ask for?

review of Capes (published 5/17/11)

review of String & Twine EP (published 12/09/11)