ReviewsCHILLFILTRalbum, picks

Company of Now by Anna Stine

ReviewsCHILLFILTRalbum, picks
Company of Now by Anna Stine

It’s a sultry dust-poem, set in the booming hills and valleys of a slow military march; it owes itself to the power of attraction, and a feverish sense of memory:

Fingers long to shake you
I know you will not wake
You sleepwalk in my hallways
you’re the footsteps I can’t shake
— Anna Stine

Company of Now, the new full-length recording from Anna Stine, is available October 28th but you can listen to a preview of her single Eyelids right now.

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Anna Stine is a singer-songwriter currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The energy she brings is blues-inflected with a strong sense of personal narrative; her husky voice, and the slight glissando to her end-phrases, create a dreamy and slightly dark flow of folk and rock-inspired lyricism. Eyelids, the featured track, is a brooding self-exploration with a style evocative of the sandy Southwest, of salt-flats and one-light towns, with a soaring and energetic lead vocal that runs the range from Mazzy Star to Liz Phair and back again.

The key to the delivery here is the self-searching. Company of Now opens with a damper pedal on the floor, and a jazz hand on the piano; some beautiful musings and a fair amount of self-incrimination. The sound is always raw with a dry mix, which becomes the canvas, and a broad sense of genre-specificity generates some delicious surprises. From the simple piano-driven melancholy of Bicycle, to the mid-tempo surgical pop of Growing Pains, and the throwback folk-rock sensibility of There I’ll Go, Stine quickly delineates the perimeter of her artistic realm. Subsequently Porch Swing introduces her signature sound: that intersection of playfulness and earnest criticism, riding the line between coffeeshop crooner and blues queen.

The tone is set for a reanimation of the moment we have all tried to forget - revisiting that sense of longing, and of codependence, that so often is a harbinger of the reality check to come. On the spotlight track Eyelids, we can only keep our eyes closed for so long:

I wonder what you wonder
I think of what you think
It’s a shot in the dark
and it’s aiming right at me
— Anna Stine

And that is the enduring message from this often jazzy, always rhapsodic, collection of songs: that we are who we decide to be, and every day can be a chance to reinvent something. The slow 6/8 of Threshold of You, which builds into a deep and emotive shuffle, further expands the versatility of Stine’s voice. On a song like White Chair, she delves deep into the piano-forward mojo of a Randy Newman, or Nora Jones, and further entrances us with her language.

I found the silver lining
but it got in the way
after all white and black
are what make up the grey
— Anna Stine

In the end we are impressed with a stoic and disciplined sense of arrangement and self-description; the honesty impressed upon this whole collection of songs is notable, along with a very distinct sense of style. Anna Stine has a strong sense of who she is, and a palpable sense of vulnerability. These songs might teach you a little something about yourself.

Her song Eyelids is featured on our CHILL NEW Songwriters playlist.

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