The Weather Station
The Weather Station

Tracklist:

A1. “Free” 3:07
A2. “Thirty” 3:40
A3. “You and I (on the Other Side of the World)” 4:41
A4. “Kept It All to Myself” 3:09
A5. “Impossible” 3:23
B1. “Power” 4:36
B2. “Complicit” 3:34
B3. “Black Flies” 2:10
B4. “I Don’t Know What to Say” 2:49
B5. “In an Hour” 2:54
B6. “The Most Dangerous Thing About You” 3:32

 

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Album Narrative

On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date, a work of profound urgency and artistic generosity. 

 

 

The Weather Station is the fourth—and most forthright—album by The Weather Station. The most fully realized statement to date from Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman, it is a work of profound urgency, artistic generosity, and joy. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence.

“I wanted to make a rock and roll record,” Lindeman explains, “but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock and roll.” The result is a spirited, frequently topical tour de force that declares its understated feminist politics, and its ambitious new sonic directions, from its first moments. Opener “Free,” with its jagged distorted guitar, is wryly anti-freedom—how very un-rock-and-roll!—in response to mansplaining chatter: “Was I free as I should be, or free as you were? Is it me that you’re talking to? I never could stand those simple words.” The song ends as strings conjure an unsettling “devil’s triad” chord, shifting between dissonance and order.

Lindeman’s songwriting has always been deconstructive, subtly undermining the monoliths of genre with her sly sense of complexity and irony. She has generally been characterized as a folk musician, and yet with its subtext of community and tradition, the term “folk” has never quite fit The Weather Station’s work; the songs are too specific and lacerating. So appropriately, Lindeman’s so-called “rock and roll record” suspiciously stares down those genre signifiers—big, buzzing guitars, thrusting drums—and interweaves horror-movie strings and her keening, Appalachian-tinged vocal melodies. Reaching towards a sort of accelerated talking blues, she sings with a new rapid-fire vocal style, filling a few of these short, bruising songs with enough lyrics to populate a full album. As she hits the climax of “Thirty,” a poignant, bittersweet story of a passing crush, you realize she has been singing incessantly for the last two minutes, with nods to gasoline prices, antidepressants, a father in Nairobi—how she “noticed fucking everything: the light, the reflections, different languages, your expressions.” The song is overbrimming, as though attempting to expand the borders of what can be said within a three-minute pop song. “I don’t know what to say,” she sings elsewhere, “so I say too much.”

On past records, Lindeman has been a master of economy. Here her precisely detailed prose-poem narratives remain as exquisitely wrought as ever, but they inhabit an idiosyncratic, sometimes disorderly, and often daring album that feels, and reads, like a collection of obliquely gut-punching short stories. It is not a careful record, or an abstract one. Instead of the hushed airiness of Polaris Prize-nominated predecessor Loyalty (2015), we get something more direct and piercing. The characters of The Weather Station are navigating the unknowable, the frontiers of anxiety, empathy, and communication. On “Power” Lindeman expresses desire for strength and control as decline rather than ascent: “I felt like I was descending some strange inverted tower, looking for my power.” On the prospect of marriage, the narrator is open but afraid: “I asked for your hand in it, some infinite understanding. But I don’t know nothing of what I am asking; I have no idea of what it will entail.” “Black Flies” conjures a natural world as discomfiting and forbidding as the distances between us: “Straight line of horizon, and the ocean painful wide … Every crooked word spoken still ringing in your ears like the whine of mosquitoes.” Heatstricken “Complicit” raises the specter of climate change; as “all the hot winds blow,” and her guitar knots itself into a helical riff, Lindeman reminds us, “you and I, we are complicit” in the escalating disaster.

After two records made in close collaboration with other musicians (Daniel Romano, Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas), Lindeman self produced, taking full creative control for the first time since her debut. The band comprised touring bassist Ben Whiteley, drummer Don Kerr, and disparate guests, including Ryan Driver (Jennifer Castle), Ben Boye (Ryley Walker), and Will Kidman (The Constantines). But the heaviest thumbprint on the record belongs to Lindeman; she wrote the dense, often dissonant string arrangements and played most of the wending, tumbling guitar lines. “I produced the record,” she reflects, “because I was the only one who understood it, and the only way I could explain it was just to make it.”

The cover of Loyalty memorably featured the back of Lindeman’s head. On the cover of this record, by contrast, she stares directly into the camera, insouciant in blue jeans, frozen in an artless, almost awkward pose. The Weather Station is her most direct and candid record, and the first one to include tracks one might characterize as pop songs. Yet amidst fizzing tambourine, nimble bass, and the jangling rhythm guitar of “Kept It All to Myself,” she alludes to mental disarray—how “kind faces would change on me, eyes and nose and mouth, unfamiliar assembly.” On the final song, she observes, addressing an oblivious dinner companion, “The most dangerous thing about you is your pain—I know for me it is the same.”

Throughout, the record grapples with some of the darkest material Lindeman has yet approached: it is, according to her, the first album on which she touches on her personal experiences of mental illness. And yet the gesture inherent to the record is one of unflinching embrace. Despite it all, the characters “fall down laughing, effervescent, and all over nothing, all over nothing.” “Well, I guess I got the hang of it” she sings wryly, “the impossible.” By saying more than ever before, The Weather Station seeks to reveal the unnamable, the unsayable void that lies beneath language and relationships. It’s willfully messy and ardent and hungry. And that, perhaps, is very rock and roll, after all.

  • Deluxe 140g virgin vinyl LP features heavy-duty board jacket with full lyrics, full-color inner sleeve, and high-res Bandcamp download code.
  • CD edition features heavy-duty gatefold board jacket and LP replica artwork.
  • RIYL Steve Gunn, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ryley Walker, Itasca, Bill Callahan, Joan Shelley, Kurt Vile, Angel Olsen, Meg Baird, Julie Byrne, Aldous Harding, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Linda Perhacs, John Martyn, Shirley Collins, Richard Thompson, Fairport Convention.
  • PoB artist page and tour dates
  • Also check out Loyalty (PoB-19), The Weather Station's previous album

 

Acknowledgments

The new record I’m most excited about right now is by the Weather Station, a folk outfit from Toronto fronted by the singer and songwriter Tamara Lindeman. “Thirty,” the first single from “The Weather Station,” the group’s fourth record, which comes out this fall, is a song that could take a punch to the face—an urgent retelling of her thirtieth year, its triumphs, its jokes, and its failures, and how difficult it is, sometimes, to tell those things apart. Lindeman has a poet’s eye for precise, unsentimental detail (“I noticed fucking everything,” she sings, recounting a scene at a gas station), and the rigor of her narration recalls Courtney Barnett’s “Depreston,” maybe the best song ever written about ennui and real estate. “That was the year I was thirty, that was the year you were thirty-one,” Lindeman sings. How does a person suss out the proper arc of a life? She doesn’t know, either. “That was the year that we lost or we won.”

– Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker

I've been a fan of The Weather Station for a while now and always quite enjoyed her albums, but this one is on another level. These songs sit in a place between thought and expression, where the music flows confidently from heart to tongue. It's filled with feminist politics, kindred spirits, conversations and heartbreak, all well played as inspired gems. She's lived these words. They are her being. They are her stories.

– Bob Boilen, NPR Music First Listen

8.0 From front-to-back, this is the first The Weather Station album that sounds as fleshed-out and powerful as the world it contains. It’s a balancing act that can swerve in a heartbeat from romantic comedy to psychological horror.

– Sam Sodomsky, Pitchfork

9/10. Lindeman could never pass unrecognized. No one else is writing true-life songs with such a command of nuance and ellipsis, with such generosity of unguarded emotion and careful economy of means, like Sam Shepard writing haiku.

– Richard Williams, Uncut

#4 Album of 2017. Tamara Lindeman deftly moved her career into a new phase this year. She artfully transcended her folk background, rocking out a little without ever losing intimacy and focus, or detracting from the precision or valence of the exceptional poetry with which she stocked her songs. 

– Uncut

Lindeman's latest is a bolder demonstration of her talent and of the turbulence that's always threatening to overwhelm the more placid kind of beauty in her songs

– Uncut (feature piece)

4 stars. Getting direct to the emotional nub of a song, but with words aplenty, more like a Raymond Carver short story than Joni [Mitchell] or Bill [Callahan], so closely woven are these 11 tales of love (lost and found) and memory.

– Martin Aston, MOJO

My favorite songwriter these past few years. Self-titled, the LP is a show of force in both what she sings and doesn’t. Another triumph.

– Duncan Cooper, The FADER

Lindeman is a brilliant, opaque storyteller, with a writerly eye for natural landscapes and the shifting, momentary micro-climates of relationships. If the album was made by someone meditating over a state of turmoil, its confidence and transporting quality leave the listener struck by an artist exhilarated by new possibilities.

– Alasdair Lees, The Independent

An inspired continuation of a rich tradition of intensely-disciplined, self-interrogative pop songwriting. The taut arrangements on The Weather Station, adorned here with aerial surges of strings, create The Weather Station’s own specific music universe, at turns claustrophobic or extending all the way towards a distant horizon.

– Winston Cook-Wilson, SPIN

Though the self-titled LP is every bit as gorgeous and engrossing as previous triumphs, it’s looser, more enraged, and far more restless. It’s a set of songs about defining oneself, about recognizing the changing winds that swirl around us, and dedicated to poring over the words and ideas that bind us together. It’s Lindeman’s most accomplished and seems to reveal more brilliance with each listen. 

– Jason Woodbury, Aquarium Drunkard

9/10. Tamara Lindeman, aka the Weather Station, is one of Canada's best songwriters. The Weather Station is Lindeman's loosest, most confident album yet, but it may also prove to be her most deeply psychological; she doesn't hold back.

– Sarah Greene, Exclaim!

9/10. The fourth album from Tara Lindeman aka The Weather Station is this year’s most remarkable feat of songwriting. It shares a commonality with the greats. Lindeman is an orator of life, one that is so superb that she is beyond it, while simultaneously being embodied within its light, colours, joy.  Great works contain multitudes, and that is exactly what you’ll get here. It captures so much that its beauty is almost unbearable.

– Emma Madden, Drowned in Sound

8/10. These songs—even the quiet ones—are bold, messy, unflinching, humming with life. Lindeman’s lyrics, laid out on the page in full sentences, read more beautifully than song lyrics have any right to; each one a succinct, evocative, pithily observed short story. On record, her words translate effortlessly, almost miraculously, into songs that are by turns chatty, fluidly melodic, and in spots, deftly hooky.

– K. Ross Hoffman, Magnet

8/10. “I noticed fucking everything”, Tamara Lindeman snaps on “Thirty”, the remarkable first single from her superbly energised fourth album under The Weather Station guise. That’s as good a description of the Toronto-based songwriter’s style as any.

– Janne Oinonen, The Line of Best Fit

If other songwriters fight to fit their words within a song’s measure, Tamara Lindeman takes the opposite tactic as the Weather Station. Her verbose songs are chock full of words — their inflections adding rhythmic scope, their syntax unraveling deeply personal confessions. 

– Amanda Wicks, The Bluegrass Situation

The power of Tamara Lindeman’s music is in the details. Even more than her stark melodies, which often share the persistent flow of a car in motion, her lyrics provide the momentum, unfolding her narratives with patience and precision. As things move faster, she suggests that these subtle, shared moments are how we mark time. Few songwriters capture them with such fluidity.

– Pitchfork 

Four albums in, The Weather Station reveals an artist in full bloom, as Lindeman has pruned her process to move beyond the beautiful, confessional style of critically acclaimed albums past to create an elaborate, holistic statement that honors the complexity of the artist who created it. Lyrically, Lindeman finds the freedom to celebrate intimacy and lament distance, acknowledge beauty and trace old scars-all enmeshed in a wild bouquet of musical varietals from sparse solo piano to pulsing near-rock rhythms and guitar lines. The Weather Station inhabits the intersection of personal and polished like few albums can.

– Matt Conner, Under the Radar

Another fervent chapter in The Weather Station’s story, conjuring up the kind of subtle magic that can lend the heaviest of blows. Her exquisite compositions are able to light up whichever room they find themselves despite – or perhaps in spite of – the heavy-heart that seems to drive the whole project forward.

– Tom Johnson, Gold Flake Paint

4 stars. Dynamic, with a flint-like toughness.

– Record Collector

Timeless… Measured, perceptive storytelling. A singer with an unmistakable & communicative voice, able to convey hope & hurt with equal clarity.

– Pitchfork

She writes literate songs with unusual precision & sings them in an understated, open-hearted way that lends good poetry the directness of conversation.

– Uncut

One of Canada’s finest folk songwriters and guitarists.

– Caitlin White, UPROXX

Tense and uncertain, The Weather Station will keep you tuning in.

– Bill Meyer, Dusted

The Weather Station’s arresting folk-country “Thirty” is going to make you feel some feelings. Guaranteed.

– The Fader

Is Tamara Lindeman Americana’s best-kept secret?

– The Observer New Review

Bob Dylan aside, the singer-songwriter I’ve listened to most over the past year, & to whom I expect to be paying attention for many more to come, is Tamara Lindeman, who, under the name the Weather Station, performs songs notable for a conversational fluency, a diarist’s powers of observation, & a quiet refusal of emotional simplicities.

– Richard Williams, The Guardian

Brash, boisterous, and ballsy. A defining moment in an intriguing and hugely rewarding output.

– Del Day, Shindig!

87/100. her fourth outing is by far Lindeman’s strongest so far, and a significant artistic progression from her previous work in almost every way. It’s hugely satisfying to see a follow-up that marks such a pronounced evolution from past works and, with their self titled album, The Weather Station have crafted a truly excellent album.

– Gigsoup

4 stars. Her most complete work yet. A sublime take on the songwriter’s need to confess and confide.

– Gareth Thompson, RnR

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