jazz pop

Jill Barber: “Hell No”

When we watch characters like Marge Simpson or Mad Men‘s Betty Draper, their “homemaker” status is typically the butt of a joke. However after plenty of post-lockdown reflections, the status quo has clearly shifted back to domestic preferences. And although she’s worked damn hard for her planet-spanning, twenty-plus-year success, Canada’s Jill Barber is ready to put aside almost all of it in favor of motherhood and marriage. Almost. Barber boasts a discography dating back to 2002, an impressive list of international festival appearances, three JUNO nominations, countless awards, song placement in programs like Orange is the New Black, ambassadorship with Save the Children, bilingual fluency, and oh yeah, authorship of two children’s books. With a decade of marriage under her belt and a couple kids tied to her hip, this highly-decorated debonair has entered her forties with the maternal wisdom that you simply can’t rush greatness, nor should you ascribe to outdated norms. Sure, Jill still mixes a potpourri of infectious folk arrangements and seductive jazz vocals within perspicacious pop formulas. But she’s also eager to reclaim and re-appropriate the term “homemaker” on her eleventh full-length of the same name, out next Friday. Homemaker is a jubilant piece of musical matriarchy and cooperation, plain and simple, one that recognizes that nobody succeeds alone, that twice the work for half the pay is a raw deal. Barber’s latest cut comes straight from her creative nerve center in Vancouver, British Columbia and serves as her first as co-producer, yet another testament to the power of nurturing together. So if you want to stave off these statewide winter shivers, harness the warmth of emotional energy within Homemaker and say heck yeah to “Hell No”.

Abram Shook: “Delusion”

After studying jazz in his longtime home base of Santa Cruz, California, songwriter-visionary Abram Shook took to the road and spent time in Boston and Portland before heading here to Austin. Soon after, Shook earned the distinction as our April 2015 Artist of the Month, thanks to his colorful aesthetic, make-it-look-easy performance prowess, and tightrope balance between soft-spoken lyrics and hard-hitting arrangements.

This Friday the three-time Studio 1A veteran has something new for fans to sink their incisors into, Velvet Teeth, an impressive array of psychedelic jazz-pop compositions that’ll leave you (as the kids say…) shook. The LP’s preceding singles all share the same mellow energy and give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from Velvet Teeth, such as “Delusion”, whose chill groove and subtle sonics floss between seductive and intoxicating.