Claire Cronin (pictured) w/ Ezra Buchla
Came Down a Storm is an album that creates a world. ThroughClaire Cronin’s deep, intimate voice come songs of wreckage and redemption. A published poet and English Ph.D. student as well as a musician, Cronin uses images and symbols to craft songs that reach beyond the personal. She sings of death in a field, death at sea, dreams of dying, and a vision of a future where death is no longer allowed. Yet the music is not depressing; even in its darkest lines, these songs aim to float.
The album is a collaboration between Cronin and Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich, who met by chance at a Los Angeles show and began writing songs together long-distance. After sending recordings and ideas back and forth over email for a year, Cronin joined Dieterich at his house in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to record Came Down a Storm. It was mixed with Jay Pellici at New, Improved Recordings in Oakland, California, where the full instrumentation was put in place. The album features Pellici and Chris Vatalaro on drums and Ezra Buchla and Heather Trost on strings. The spare, melancholy style of Cronin’s previous self-released work is evident in this album, but the music created with Dieterich takes Came Down a Storm beyond the folk genre. Cronin’s voice recalls Karen Dalton or Jason Molina in its sincerity and ache—plaintive and burnished with a kind of dark gold throughout. The instruments build around her singing: breaking to crescendos, driving emotional currents, or providing lively counterpoint to the lyric’s funereal themes. Cronin will tour this Summer and Fall with Buchla, performing pared-down arrangements of these songs and others.
Natalie Chami adopted the TALsounds
moniker in 2009 for her solo explorations in the drone, ambient, and electro-acoustic improv disciplines. In live performance, Chami’s analog synthesizers weave together into drifting loops that evolve in tandem with her vocal leads and choral harmonies. Her meditative sessions stretch into hypnotizing depths of stream-of-consciousness multi-instrumental input, sinking into expanses of infinite sustain and cresting into bursts of noise from an arsenal of oscillators and effects pedals. As a member of free music trio Good Willsmith
, she has toured the country and released eight albums since 2012, including the LPs The Honeymoon Workbook
(2014) and Things Our Bodies Used To Have
(2016) on Mexico City-based label Umor Rex. Chami performs as half of ambient duo l’eternebre
, and co-founded the experimental collective/netlabel Screaming Claws
. She was born in Ontario and lives in Chicago.