Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Listen: Heather Woods Broderick -"A Call For Distance"

photo by Dusdin Condren
"Wait a minute. Who is that woman doing these beautiful harmonies?" was my first thought when I first saw an acoustic session Sharon Van Etten shot for Tramp standout "Leonard" featuring Heather Woods Broderick. I was enchanted and the fact that I had apparently encountered her before - as an inaugural member of the Portland chamber folk trio Horse Feathers a long with her brother Peter only added to my interest. Since her debut record From Ground, Heather Woods Broderick has mostly taken up the mantle of multi-instrumentalist/touring member in bands from Efterklang to more recently finding herself in the ranks of Sharon Van Etten's backing band where she plays everything from keys/synths, bass/guitar, to cello (though not so much of this recently). "A Call For Distance", the first single from her upcoming record Glider, however marks the first preview of new music from Heather Woods Broderick in nearly 7 years and finds her teaming up once again with her brother violinist/multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick.

"A Call For Distance" with it's gentle lilt and harmony-laden sprawl encapsulates just what drew my attention in the first place. It's nearly two minutes before the first words are even uttered but the production/arrangement is so diverse, so textural complex that you hardly even notice. The track builds not only off a trembling bassline but off of Heather Woods Broderick's own words "to live, to learn, to live"; repeated for effect, refracted in its harmonic doubling and atmospheric texturing. Considering how many elements she pulls into it, the track is surprisingly sparse - balancing the variety of instruments Heather Woods Broderick has at her disposal with her subtle sense of utility and propriety in its narrative buildup.

Heather Woods Broderick's follow up to 2009's From Ground, Glider is out July 10th on Western Vinyl. Pre-order is available now.

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