Seattle-based recording artist and songwriter Sarah St. Albin is celebrating the release of her debut EP, Small Voice, with a show at the Sunset Tavern on March 12, 2017. She will be supported by local bands My Cartoon Heart and Tobias the Owl.
St. Albin, who was classically trained in voice and on the piano, has been writing and recording music since 2002—starting in a little studio in the mountains surrounding Williams Valley in eastern Washington. Small Voice, which represents her first commercial foray into the Seattle music scene, offers a blend of upbeat, sentimental, and dark-and-synthy pop. The record, which was engineered and produced by Robert Cheek (Band of Horses, Deftones, Tera Melos) at XX Audio and Electric Wall Studio in Seattle, features St. Albin on vocals, piano, and keyboards. She is joined by drummer John O’Connell and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Mike Sparks (both are from He Whose Ox is Gored and By Sunlight).
The Sunset Tavern is a 21+ venue located at 5433 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107. Doors open at 7:30pm and music begins with Tobias the Owl at 8pm. Tickets for the release show are $8 (GA) and can be purchased either at the door or via the following ticket link: http://www.ticketweb.
Small Voice will be available to stream and/or download on March 10, 2017 (iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, CDBaby, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc.). Physical copies will be available for purchase at Sarah’s release show at the Sunset Tavern on March 12, 2017. In the meantime, a single from the EP (“If I’m Being Honest”) will be available to stream and/or download on February 10, 2017.
Tobias the Owl
Tobias the Owl is an indieacoustic, folktronica, collaborative project spanning different regions and different musical genres. They emphasize sublimating the tribulations of human existence into expressions of love through music. They’re working on a brand new studio album to be released soon.
Northwest Music Scene review:
Tobias the Owl’s Every Eye is a Universe is exactly what I’ve been missing in my search for modern folk music that matters. When a songwriter can create a song about the human condition with such skill and intimacy, I am a happy folkie.
These songs, however, go beyond the boundaries of the folk genre; they reach into a heart space that can’t be denied or disregarded. The pedigreed list of musicians, technicians and artists on this body of work is impressive. It’s understandable that so many people would want to contribute to such a masterful vision and distinct emotional expression of collective experience. The universal appeal of this collection caught the eye of that big ol’ caffeine huckster, Starbucks, and now three of the tunes are part of the international rotation inside the coffee stores.
My Cartoon Heart
Northwest Music Scene review:
While listening through My Cartoon Heart’s That Was Then (This is Now), released independently on April 11th, one can’t help but be struck by how appropriate the band’s name is. On each track, the synthetic and organic blend together seamlessly to form something that exceeds what either is capable of on their own. For all the drum machines, multi-tracked vocals, and synthesizers, there are plenty of human elements that ground the record.
In many ways, That Was Then feels like a sonic sedimentary rock, with decades of indietronica and bedroom pop fossilized together. The album opener “Down” is a haunting Massive Attack-esque ballad, with cold, choppy synthesizers mixed below lead singer Spencer Goll’s signature staccato enunciation. Following that is “Persuasion,” a track that falls somewhere between Cyndi Lauper and Hot Chip. The drum track is pure ‘80s, and the keys are right out of an upscale hotel lobby. The most compelling piece of “Persuasion” comes from the stacked fiddles during the song’s bridge–My Cartoon Heart is a band at their best when they let their live instrumentation shine at the forefront.
If there was any doubt this band is from Seattle, the track “Sunrise” should clear that right up. With production right out of Ryan Lewis’ songbook, the song embodies all the key elements of modern Seattle hip hop, featuring upbeat politco rap, anthemic horns, and a soaring chorus. “Sunrise” follows those beats like a checklist, and risks dating itself in the process. Likewise, guest Era’s politically-charged rapping is impressive, but not particularly focused; he is clearly pro-women, and anti-”psychos,” but never specifies much more than that. It’s not toothless, but it doesn’t necessarily have fangs.
Closing out the record is the group’s most obvious dance anthem. Harkening back to the club world’s pre-dubstep days, “Tonight” is fueled by Tiesto-like synth leads that make it impossible to imagine anything but hoards of high-schoolers bouncing along to the four-on-the-floor beat below.
In the world of pop music, it is very easy to remain a passive observer, but My Cartoon Heart refuses. They have generated 10 eclectic songs that all but beg to be the new soundtrack for your beach days and late night drives. That Was Then (This is Now) is clearly a love letter to the world of electronic music crafted with care by friends, and that is something special.