Jen Gloeckner and her sound evoke memories from before some music listeners were born, but a very current one too. It makes feelings that have been all too buried inside of our consciousness surface. Suddenly we’re in a dark bar at sunrise, and the sun is ‘VINE’.
If you’re a person that has faith, let the fact that Portishead is playing in this café open your introduction to Jen Gloeckner. Recorded and self-produced in her bedroom, VINE is Jen’s third album.
My approach to music is as follows. Ask me certain lyrics I love from something and I won’t be able to answer. Mixtapes I’ve made in the past have had a more thematic approach. If I love the song of this obscure all-string version of “Man-Size” enough to put it on a romantic mixtape for you, just follow my instructions and “listen to the music!”
It’s part of why music calls to me. Jen Gloeckner’s third record is a dalliance with the experimental electronica of early Portishead and a pinch of the Cocteau Twins. The music is layered and the inspiration Julee Cruise’s voice has had on her is clear.
There’s an art to recording in one’s bedroom, and it’s not what we tend to think. The days of recording loop after loop after loop between two cassette recorders are long gone. It’s just we sometimes don’t know it if we’re not told and, well, it’s hard to be told. When Lorde did her first record, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that girls could do it. It should’ve been a, “Well, and?”
The opening track shares its name with the album. “VINE” is an opening track that plays on the ambience of youth and the world around us. The piano reminds me a little of early Sia and the layers of Kid A Radiohead, but it is entirely its own entity. This is also gonna bring the nerd in me out but it’s also a track that could fit easily into the early “Silent Hill” universe.
If you love the kind of disjointed dreamscape of CocoRosie or Cocteau Twins, Jen Gloeckner’s whimsy is the ideal fit. There’s a clash of different influences going on and instead of less-being-more, where this chilled out trip-folk, Americana sound is concerned, every instrument and sound sample bring something new to the (turn)table.
“Firefly (Wardance)” is an instrumental track that shows that exactly. Close your eyes when you listen. Tell Jen what you see; tell us what you do. The vocals and crawling bass in the verses of “Counting Sheep” are ripped straight from the pages of the Angelo Badalamenti guide to Twin Peaks and “Ginger Ale” closes out with a Celtic soirée that takes us to the hills of Scotland.
VINE is a fantastically rich mix of layered vocals and feeling. It’s an album that holds up best at full volume through good earphones. Ones that allow you to hear all the eccentricities of the instruments hidden away in the sound that is, above all things, a complete story. One I would love to hear Jen Gloeckner tell live.
Stand out tracks: “Counting Sheep,” “Sold,” “Firefly (Wardance)”
ABOUT JEN GLOECKNER
From the shores of Dubuque, Iowa’s Mississippi River emerges Jen’s hypnotically captivating, and spellbinding music. Her bedroom recorded diary of songs have received worldwide airplay and has been covered in top music publications, including MOJO Music Magazine (London), Blitz! (Portugal), Akustik Gitarre (Germany), Relix (USA) and Classic Rock Magazine (UK).
Jen has released music through One Little Indian Records (Bjork) and has recorded with top artists, such as the late Hector Zazou, Joseph Arthur, and most recently Psychedelic Furs guitarist John Ashton for his latest solo project, Satellite Paradiso, which also includes members from the bands of Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Lou Reed.
Her latest record VINE continues with another collection of atmospheric, mind-bending songs and includes appearances by John Ashton (Psychedelic Furs), Henry Padovani (original guitarist and founding member of The Police) and Angela Mattson (In The Valley Below). VINE was mixed by Brian McTear and Matt Poirier at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia (Sharon Van Etten, Marissa Nadler, War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, etc.).