MUSIQUE BOUTIQUE: Big Joanie, Eszter Balint, Dawn Riding

Welcome to Audiofemme’s record review column, Musique Boutique, written by music journo vet Gillian G. Gaar. The last Monday of each month, Musique Boutique offers a cross-section of noteworthy reissues and new releases guaranteed to perk up your ears.

Four years after their great debut album, Sistahs, Big Joanie is back with a new release (Back Home) on a new label (Kill Rock Stars). The London-based power trio (Stephanie Phillips, guitar; Estella Adeyeri, bass; Chardine Taylor-Stone, drums) kick off the album with the dreamy richness of “Cactus Tree,” described as a gothic folk tale, set to a roiling rush of sound and an incantatory drum beat. “Happier Still” is a churning alt-rocker (the band cites Nirvana as one of their influences) about hanging onto your sanity by pushing through the darkness to the light. “Taut” has the relentlessness of a metronome in its dissection of a relationship, as the guitars lay down a decisive beat.

A song like “In My Arms” explores the push-pull of wanting to be close to someone you’d like to push away at the same time. There are actually two versions of the song: one skips along like a pop tune; the other, a reprise that features declamatory drum beats straight out of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” with a slower, more sultry delivery that makes the song a different kind of cool. This is a group looking to make waves in more ways than one; as Taylor-Stone told NPR, “We started this band because we wanted to be in a band where we can just be Black girls who are weirdos, and now we can… it’s about creating new norms for people, and we’re really proud to have created those spaces.” And in case you’re wondering, the group is named after Phillips’ mother.

Eszter Balint was introduced to American audiences via Jim Jarmusch’s 1984 art house classic Stranger Than Paradise. She calls her latest album, I Hate Memory! (Red Herring Records) “an impressionistic travelogue,” that charts her early years, when she left communist Hungary for New York City in 1977, along with her parents. The city proved to be fertile ground for a family that ran an avant-garde group, Squat Theatre, and Balint’s home was transformed into a theater space and music venue, where the likes of Nico, Sun Ra, and the Lounge Lizards passed through. Balint ended up making her recording debut playing violin on “Beat Bop,” the classic hip hop track by Rammellzee + K-Rob, produced by visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Balint collaborated on I Hate Memory! (which has also been staged in New York), with Stew (Mark Lemar Stewart), the musician and playwright who headed up the band Stew & the Negro Problem. You can trace the storyline from the song titles (“Before America,” “The First Day,” “Campfire at the Chelsea”), and the music ebbs and flows with the pulse of the city’s streets. “Art Bodega Nation” has a nervy energy (“You want to make it in America? You don’t advertise, you don’t eat!”), “After the Party” is the piano-based chill down, “Second Avenue” is a laid-back distillation of the sights and smells of the neighborhood. Overall, a beguiling trip down memory lane.

There’s a deceptiveness to You’re Still Here (The Long Road Society/Speakeasy Studios SF) by Dawn Riding (the name that singer/songwriter Sarah Rose Janko uses for this particular musical project). The opening track, “9 Lives,” starts out quietly, almost dreamily, yet if you listen to the lyrics, Riding’s calm vocal details a somber tale of a self-destructive relationship. “That was one of my nine lives; he nearly took me out,” she sings matter-of-factly, before moving on to the devastating coda: “But I moved on down the line/And now it’s just a thing I sing about.”

Similarly, “Beautiful and Dangerous,” set to delicate acoustic music, is a portrait of an enigmatic woman who’s “pretty as the lightning in the Midwest, cracks the sky in two,” an ethereal presence filling the narrator jointly with awe and trepidation. “Hold On” crackles with ominous undertones, Janko’s distorted vocals adding another spooky element as a nighttime ramble takes a surreal turn; are you holding on to be rescued, or to be pulled under? “Change in Tide” is an elegy for a departed friend, with a trumpet line rising to send off a final farewell. “Luck Run Out” expresses yearning for escape. There’s a darkness to this music, and an underlying chill. But the empathy of Janko’s voice adds a welcome dose of warmth.

MUSIQUE BOUTIQUE: Natalia King, Bitch, and Songs of Yoko Ono

Welcome to Audiofemme’s record review column, Musique Boutique, written by music journo vet Gillian G. Gaar. The last Monday of each month, Musique Boutique offers a cross-section of noteworthy reissues and new releases guaranteed to perk up your ears.

“Well, they call me a hard-headed woman/I tell ‘em ‘I work at it every day’” is the proud, take-no-prisoners opening line from the title track of Natalia King’s latest album, Woman Mind of My Own (DixieFrog Records). It’s an album reverberating with the unvarnished power of the blues — despite most of it being recorded in Paris, where the Brooklyn-born King is now based.

At its heart, the blues is an expression of profound human emotions, and King’s album resonates with deep feeling. “AKA Chosen” is a stirring song of self-empowerment. “Once was part/but now I’m whole,” King sings, as the simple guitar opening gives way to a stomping beat and lively backing chorus. “Forget Yourself” seduces with an insinuating tenor sax solo. “So Far Away” is a compelling portrait of estrangement in a relationship. “Play On” cleverly uses gambling metaphors in its dissection of the game of love, as a moaning slide guitar hints of the danger that may lie ahead. Along with her own songs, there’s also an interesting selection of covers; a reflective rendition of John Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses,” and a wonderfully intimate version of George Michael’s “One More Try.”

State of the world got you down? A little Bitchcraft (Kill Rock Stars) will lift those spirits. “You’re the man, you’re the man, you’re the man,” Bitch sings in the song of that name, ending the litany with the telling reminder, “Well, I’m the woman.” Yes, she certainly is. The artist, formerly one half of queercore duo Bitch and Animal, has created an album that delights and dazzles, from the bright pop of “You’re the Man” (with its rallying cry “In the underground, the most amazing sound/We sing through everything that tries to cut us down”) to the stark, brittle sounds that percolate in “Easy Target,” to the soothing harmonies of “Polar Bear,” which imagines the natural beauty of a world without humanity.

She’s as much a visual artist as a musician. Check out the eye-popping video for “Hello Meadow!” – the explosive color and rapid-fire editing match its pointed lyrics attacking the corporate greed that’s destroying the natural beauty of our delicate planet. The more somber “Nothing in My Pockets” dissects the nature of heartbreak with the liberal use of black light and streaks of day-glo paint. Aurally and visually, Bitchcraft casts an enticing spell.

This month marked Yoko Ono’s 89th birthday, on February 18, and in celebration of that event comes a new tribute to her work, Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono (Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records/Chimera Music). The various artists compilation was conceived and curated by Ben Gibbard, lead singer/guitarist of Death Cab for Cutie, in hopes of generating new appreciation for her work.

Ono was originally a visual artist, and, more enigmatically a “conceptual artist,” as demonstrated by such “instructional poems” as this — “Painting To Be Constructed In Your Head: Observe three paintings carefully. Mix them well in your head” (from her book Grapefruit). Not coming from a traditional rock or conventional pop music background gives Ono’s music its unique quality; she’s made up her own rules about how she wants to make music. Hence the nursery rhyme in the middle of “Dogtown,” a song that benefits greatly from Sudan Archives’ cool delivery.

There’s also an undercurrent of sadness in much of her work. It’s understandable in a track like the haunting ballad “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do” (a beautiful performance by Japanese Breakfast), which was written in the wake of the murder of her husband, John Lennon. But it’s also there in “Run, Run, Run,” which predated that tragic event, in which a “run to the light” becomes a “run for your life;” Amber Coffman’s rendition has a decided Americana vibe. Other contributors include U.S. Girls, Thao Nguyen, Sharon Van Etten, and The Flaming Lips, making for an imaginative collection honoring an equally creative artist.  


Welcome to Audiofemme’s monthly record review column, Musique Boutique, written by music journo vet Gillian G. Gaar. Every fourth Monday, Musique Boutique offers a cross-section of noteworthy reissues and new releases guaranteed to perk up your ears.

Alice TM is described as the queer, art-pop project of Alice Tolan-Mee, an artist who’s worked in experimental theater and performance art as well as music. Her debut album, Little Body in Orbit (Whatever’s Clever) is an album that delves into the twists and turns of love; new love, queer love, or as Alice vividly describes it, “Sticky love, tumbling and joyful love, slutty love, and violence in love.”

It’s a range in perspective that nicely bookends the album, which opens with the skittering, giddy pleasures of “Generous” and its celebration of newfound bliss (“I will bathe in you completely”) and concludes with a slow, sad unraveling in “Wedding” (“You don’t wrap your arms around me”). Tolan-Mee’s high-pitched voice gives the songs an ethereal cast. And though the music is electronically based — cool synths and percussive pops — it’s not austere or remote, but beguiling and seductive. From a relationship mired in inertia (the aptly-named “Passive”) to the erotic delights of “Contact Electric,” this is a record pulsating with the excitement of making new discoveries, and learning from them. Dive in.

When the pandemic led to musicians around the world cancelling their shows, Sarah McQuaid decided to capture a live performance without the presence of an audience. The St Buryan Sessions (Shovel and a Spade Records) is the result – sixteen songs recorded at a medieval church in St. Buryan, a village in Cornwall, England. It’s a place that McQuaid, as a member of the church’s choir, knew well. She and her producer, Martin Stansbury, decided to set it up as if she were playing an actual concert, following a setlist, and playing straight through, with minimal breaks.

Songs like “The Sun Goes on Rising,” from McQuaid’s 2012 album The Plum Tree and The Rose, have a new resonance now, with lyrics about holding onto hope through the bad times (“I’m marking down the time/’Til I can get to a better place”). Similarly, “The Silence Above Us,” from her 2018 album If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, is a perfect depiction of the isolation and uncertainty that descended upon the world last year.

McQuaid’s voice is deep and slightly husky, imbuing her songs with a haunting melancholy, underscored by the spare instrumentation (she variously accompanies herself on acoustic or electric guitar, piano, and floor tom). “The Day of Wrath, That Day” is a lovely instrumental; the standard “Autumn Leaves” turns out to be perfect for her voice. Already a compelling release, the concert was also filmed – there’s a short doc about the making of the release, as well as live videos of each track, on McQuaid’s YouTube channel.

ONETWOTHREE (hereafter OTT) have the spare, taut sound of post-punk groups like the Delta 5, the Au Pairs, and Kleenex (aka LiLiPuT) — which is no surprise, as Klaudia Schifferle was a member of Kleenex. Fellow bandmates Madlaina Peer and Sara Schar were also members of the Swiss punk scene in bands like the Noknows and TNT. In cheery defiance of convention, they didn’t let the fact that they’re all bassists stop them from putting a band together. And they do work in other instruments on their debut album for Kill Rock Stars (it’s officially untitled, but the band’s name is on the cover); scratchy guitar, keyboards, the persistent beat of a drum machine.

“Perfect Illusions” opens the album with a touch of pop swing. The relentless drive of “Buy Buy” makes you think it might be a critique of consumer culture, at least until you’re thrown a loop with absurdist lyrics like “We want flowers from outer space!” This is an element that’s at the heart of OTT’s work. The songs might seem deceptively simple on the surface, but there’s enough of an edge (especially in the sharp, often tense vocals) to make you wonder what’s going on underneath the surface. “Give Paw,” for example, has a sinister synth line and stern demands: “Give paw! Obey! Do as I say!” “Fake” rages against all that’s fraudulent around us. This is an album that taunts and teases, and, at 35 minutes, leaves you wanting more.


Welcome to Audiofemme’s monthly record review column, Musique Boutique, written by music journo vet Gillian G. Gaar. Every fourth Monday, Musique Boutique offers a cross-section of noteworthy reissues and new releases guaranteed to perk up your ears.

TEKE::TEKE’s Shirushi (Kill Rock Stars) is a wonderous musical potpourri. One minute it’s raging indie rock, next you’re dropped into a surf rock setting, followed by the kind of twanging guitar that brings an Enrico Morricone soundtrack to mind. It’s a whirling dervish of delightful sounds.

The seven piece, Montreal-based group started out as a Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi tribute act, assembled for a one-off gig at a psychedelic music festival (Terauchi being a legendary Japanese rock guitarist). The performance generated such excitement, they decided to stay together, quickly adding original music to the mix. The blend of Western rock gear (guitars, bass) with Japanese instruments (koto, shamisen, shinobue) gives the band a distinctive sound, unique and intoxicating.

Each number is rather like a mini-movie of its own. “Dobugawa” is a romantic, languid number, enhanced by the cool, whispery vocals of Maya Kuroki. But don’t be fooled; the wild “Barbara” comes tearing in right after, with Kuroki morphing into a bold, confident singer to match the propulsiveness  of the music. “Kizashi” has a hypnotic, industrial drone. The remarkable “Kaminari” starts out in a folk-influenced vein, before the sound drops out entirely, and a short flute line leads into a gorgeous, largely acapella vocal from Kuroki, before a sort of Euro-surf rock beat takes over (and all in four minutes!). This is creative cross-pollination at its finest, TEKE::TEKE busting through musical boundaries to come up with something truly imaginative.

Moon’s Shine is so mighty, you’d never guess such a thunderous sound could come from just two people: LA-based musicians Chelsea Dawn (vocals, drums) and Dan Silver (guitars, synths). The title track, which opens the EP, is a glorious stomper, Dawn delivering the good news with righteous fervor, as the musical backing steadily escalates from a single pounding beat, then ushering in the guitars, keyboards, and other noise to rock it all up. “Never Cross Me” is just as bracing, a fiery proclamation of strength. “When it comes to life experiences, we both have many stories to tell,” is how Silver puts it, “and some days you just don’t want to mess with us.” Point taken.

It’s not all sturm und drang; the rest of this release is more lowkey, though the intensity of Dawn’s vocals means there’s always an undercurrent of tension. “Sweetest Magic” and “My Oh My (I’ll Take You Home)” are love songs of exquisite yearning. “Down By the Water” is a slow-burning number about the true salvation that comes from within: “Down by the water, down by the sea/I found religion/the religion is me.” This is soulful gothic rock that reaches out and grabs you.

There’s a song on Chai’s third album, Wink (Sub Pop), that’s actually titled “Nobody Knows We Are Fun.” Well, that’s something that could only be possible if you’d never heard anything by this Japanese foursome (two pairs of twin sisters), as even the briefest listen to one of their songs makes it clear that their prime directive is to keep the party going.

In comparison to the exuberance of their previous albums, Pink and Punk, Wink is more restrained (the words “mellowest,” “minimal” and “introspective” crop up in the press release). This is a reflection of how the album was created, the band members collaborating over the phone and on Zoom, and recording using Garageband. “Donuts Mind If I Do” is a laidback ramble. “Wish Upon a Star” is a sweet lullaby, with singer Mana only backed by a single pulsating beat, a bit of keyboard, and vocal harmonies from the rest of the group. The cool “Maybe Chocolate Chips,” written by Yuuki, recasts her moles as chocolate chips (“I’m a fickle cookie/Bitter coffee makes it even more sexy”), with Chicago rapper Ric Wilson dropping in to add a bit of an edge.

Then there’s the flipside. The lively “PING PONG!,” with its video game beats and beeps, references a game the band members couldn’t play during the pandemic. The bright “ACTION” was inspired by watching TV coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. The light pop of “It’s Vitamin C” (it opens with a giggle) is a breezy delight. This is a record that celebrates life’s simple pleasures, from salty salmon rice balls to wearing pink.

Seventeen years after the release of Talk Show, the Go-Go’s finally went back into the studio to make a fourth album, God Bless The Go-Go’s. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the album’s been reissued on Eagle Records. It’s a sweet pop treat that’s perfectly timed for summer release, providing just the right soundtrack for those carefree, sunny days.

The opening blast of “La La Land” is like an update of “We Got the Beat,” a pen portrait of Southern California life with its allusions to earthquakes and the vagaries of fame. This is a more robust Go-Go’s, the band’s musical chops tighter and tougher, songs like “Stuck in My Car” (another very LA experience) and “Throw Me a Curve” honed until they bristle. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong even drops by to co-write, play, and sing on the brisk “Unforgiven.” It’s the first time the album’s been released on vinyl, and the CD/digital versions feature two bonus tracks, “I Think I Need Sleep” and “King of Confusion.”

MUSIQUE BOUTIQUE: Tele Novella, Lael Neale, Lau & Dusty Springfield

Welcome to Audiofemme’s monthly record review column, Musique Boutique, written by music journo vet Gillian G. Gaar. Every fourth Monday, Musique Boutique offers a cross-section of noteworthy reissues and new releases guaranteed to perk up your ears.

Tele Novella hails from Lockhart, Texas (33 miles south of Austin), and their music is so multi-faceted it almost defies description. “Coin-operated medieval pop songs through a 1960s western lens” is how their Twitter bio puts it, which gives you some idea. They take country, pop, indie, and folk, and twist it all into delightfully unexpected shapes.

“Words That Stay” is the striking opening number of the duo’s new album, Merylnn Belle (Kill Rock Stars). On the surface, it sounds like a song about a lost love. But Natalie Ribbons’ dry, husky voice has enough bite in it that you’re left unsettled. Something’s not quite right here. Something’s a little off-center. And that’s the hook that draws you in.

The album’s homespun sound is the result of recording on an 8-track cassette deck. Neither Ribbons or her co-collaborator Jason Chronis were keen on doing many overdubs, so minor mistakes were left in, and the use of vintage microphones adds further atmosphere. This record takes you into another realm. “Paper Crown” is a surreal nursery rhyme. “Crystal Witch” is a spooky fairy tale. The soft-shoe shuffle of “Technicolor Town” is the closing lullaby that sends you off to sleep with Ribbons howling like a wolf. Imaginative, captivating and intriguing.

Lael Neale also opted for simplicity in making Acquainted With Night (Sub Pop), recording on 4-track cassette, accompanied only by an Omnichord (an electronic instrument that produces both chiming music notes and pre-programmed beats, and is smaller than a keyboard). There’s a delicate gracefulness to the songs, even as they touch on sadness and longing. The beautifully-titled “Every Star Shivers in the Dark” is a song of aching vulnerability, with such haunting images as Neale waving to a man in a prison tower, though there’s a glimmer of hope by the end.

“How Far Is It to the Grave” is another evocative song; mortality, as seen from the perspective of a child, a lover, a banker, a slave owner. Neale’s empathetic, crystal-clear voice makes the song sound like a prayer, lifting it from despondency. The title track is a shimmering, seductive number about how very different things become under the “cold, white shape of the moon.” And “Some Sunny Day” is a song of farewell, of looking back and having no regrets as the sands run out. Neale’s lyrics also have the elegance of poetry: “I’ve known the sand that made the pearl inside my mind.”

Anyone whose tastes run to synthpop/synthwave has likely crossed paths with Lau (aka Laura Fares) over the past decade. The Argentinian-born musician relocated to the UK at the age of 17. After years of working as a session drummer, DJ, and teaming up with Nina Boldt on the albums Sleepwalking and Synthian (credited to “Nina featuring Lau”), she’s now stepped out on her own as a solo artist, with her debut album, Believer, released on her own Aztec Records label.

The album kicks off with “Stunning,” an instantly catchy track that’s one of the most effervescent breakup songs you’ll ever hear; it’s a smooth, streamlined, fuel-injected ride to freedom, an “I Will Survive” for the 21st century. The deluxe version of the album also features a “Popcorn Kid Nocturnal mix” of the track, reworking it into a slower paced, sultry ballad. There are remixes of four other album tracks as well. The soulful “True” is presented in three versions; an original, ethereal mix, a decidedly poppier “Luke Million Remix,” and a more dance-oriented “Austin Apologue Remix.” Indeed, Lau conjures up such a mesmerizing groove, it’s easy to forget that the album’s theme is the fallout generated by the end of a relationship. The rock-steady, electronic beats of “Recognise,” “Unable,” and the cover of HAIM’s “Now I’m in It” are sparkling sweet treats.

From 1969 to 1971, Dusty Springfield recorded some of her best work for Atlantic Records, moving from the pop songs that had made her a star to the soul music she’d always loved. On Dusty in Memphis (1969) she was backed by the legendary “Memphis Boys,” an informal group of studio musicians who played on hit records by Neil Diamond, Merilee Rush, and Wilson Pickett, among others, and the equally acclaimed Sweet Inspirations, the all-female backing group who recorded with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison, and toured with Elvis Presley in the 1970s. On A Brand New Me (1970), she worked with noted songwriting/production team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (“Me and Mrs. Jones,” “Love Train,” and “When Will I See You Again,” to name a few). The best-known song from those years is of course Springfield’s classic rendition of “Son of Preacher Man,” with “The Windmills of Your Mind” running a close second. Now all of Springfield’s Atlantic 7-inchers have been compiled on The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968-1971 (Real Gone Music). Only eight of the 24 tracks have appeared on CD before, in their original mono mixes. It’s wonderful to hear sterling non-album tracks like “I Believe in You” and “Haunted” in such suburb quality.

MUSIQUE BOUTIQUE: Arlo Parks, Tamar Aphek & Juana Everett

Welcome to Audiofemme’s monthly record review column, Musique Boutique, written by music journo vet Gillian G. Gaar. Every fourth Monday, Musique Boutique offers a cross-section of noteworthy reissues and new releases guaranteed to perk up your ears.

There’s been a lot of anticipation for the release of Arlo Parks’ debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams (Transgressive Records). The London-based performer broke through in 2018 with the understated, insinuating track “Cola” (quickly snapped up and featured in the HBO series I May Destroy You), followed up by two well-received EPs. When her first headline tour was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, she then focused her energies on creating music that addressed the sudden upheavals in our world. “Hurt,” for example, deals with pain of relationships, but lines like “It won’t hurt so much forever”  resonate on a much deeper level. “Where there is this global sense of confusion and uncertainty and fear, I like to think my music provides something soothing,” she told Billboard, and while Collapsed in Sunbeams does have a cool, calming sound, Parks’ poetic self-awareness adds an edge to her work.

The most prominent elements of Parks’ songs are her vocals and the drumbeats; other instrumentation is spare, and somewhat in the background. It gives her work a heightened intimacy, especially so on this album, which she’s said is based around the writings in her own adolescent diary. Listening to her songs is like sitting down with an old friend, the kind who can get you to open up without fear of judgment. “Black Dog” is a remarkable depiction of a friend’s depression, vividly capturing the sorrow that can overwhelm you: “It’s so cruel what your mind can do for no reason.” “Green Eyes” sadly looks back at a relationship broken apart by homophobia.

But despite the somber subject matter, these aren’t songs of despair. There’s a light touch to Parks’ delivery that makes a beam shine even in the darkness, and not just in the songs that are obviously geared to that theme (e.g. the reassuring “Hope”). It’s the recognition of pain, while refusing to be brought down by it, that gives Parks’ music a buoyancy that ultimately leaves you with a sense of optimism. This is an album of multilayered delights.

Israeli musician Tamar Aphek came to my attention when I discovered the highly entertaining video for “Russian Winter,” from her latest album, All Bets Are Off (Kill Rock Stars). It’s a rollicking number, propulsively driven by bass and drums, with a few well-placed guitar and keyboard riffs from Aphek to dress it up, paired to a blast of colorful animation. It provides an explosive start to this taut and edgy album.

In general, the classic guitar/bass/drums power trio lineups have a stripped-down, leaner and meaner sound, which is certainly true of Aphek’s band, and, in this case nicely balanced out by her deadpan vocals. The sparse instrumentation of “Show Me Your Pretty Side” makes that statement sound more like a threat than a request. A rattling drum kicks off “Crossbow,” a stuttering bassline then adding to the building anxiety, with Aphek’s vocals floating coolly on top, oblivious to the discord percolating away underneath. It’s even better when Aphek adds guitar to the mix. “Beautiful Confusion” (a great title that perfectly describes the kind of harmonious dissonance you’ll find on this album), starts out as a slow crawl, with a hint of jazz flavor, before a raw blast of guitar comes in to shake things up.

The unexpected closer is a melancholy cover of “As Time Goes By” — though considering that this is an album of contrasts (harsh and soft, bracing and mellow), maybe that’s not such a surprise after all. It injects a note of nostalgia into this very modern work.

After establishing herself as a musician in her native Spain, Juana Everett relocated to Los Angeles in 2016. It’s a journey that’s very much a part of her new, self-released album, Move On (digital only, available on all streaming platforms), starting with the opening track, “Drifter of Love.” “I wasn’t sure of what I was chasing/but I carried on,” she sings, before urging her restless self to be patient. “Wind Whistle Blow” mines similar territory, a forthright, upbeat number about keeping your head up and forging ahead, no matter what: “When I hear the wind whistle blow/keep moving on.”

There’s a warm, welcoming feeling to this record. Everett has traded her previous punk rock leanings for a folkier, more intimate style, bringing to mind the confessional work of singer/songwriters from the heyday of LA’s Laurel Canyon music scene; Carole King, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, et. al. (she clearly moved to the right place). The sound is crisp and clean, with moderate, soothing tempos. Sometimes there’s a delicacy, as in “Light Up a Fire,” a gentle song about recovering from a breakup and confronting depression. “Little Tragedies” is a deeply emotional number, a song whose rising hopes are illustrated by its fuzzy ascending guitar line. “Free As a Bird,” though initially somewhat pensive, ultimately looks ahead to redemption. Move On is an album about finding your way, and understanding the journey is just as important as the destination.