This post was originally published in October 2018.
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 here.
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.
Submit for your own CHILLFILTR album spotlight here.