Oregon-based label Fluff & Gravy Records will be releasing a series of albums by three of Portland's emerging indie folk artists, the first of which being Before Machines by Anna Tivel on June 17th. Raw yet superbly composed and executed, as well as intelligent and personal and deeply expressive in their experience, observation and storytelling, the fifteen tracks on Before Machines don't just serve as an absorbing and utterly worthwhile listen but as indisputable evidence that the folk scene is in good hands with both its longtime artists and newcomers alike.
Before Machines opens with "Five Dollar Bill," an upbeat and percussive piece with a countrified lead, and Anna's half-whispery yet strong and wholly unique vocals. From there the album goes on to offer up some truly exceptional standout tracks, such as the beautiful "Map of the Stars," "Gentle War," "For Earl the Painter," the title track, and the closer "I'll Be Home." To be sure, these are organic songs that freely reveal the poetry of the mind, heart and soul, the sharp imagery of the world translated into sound, and both the simple and complex things represented sentimentally and at length. These songs also show that this particular folkstress isn't just about her hands, which gently pick the strings of her acoustic guitar; she clearly puts her all into the word constructions which serve as her lyrical content.
Anna Tivel's Before Machines is up for pre-order from Fuff & Gravy Records now.