Music

Andrea Maxand: Angel Hat

Jason MacNeil

Andrea Maxand

Angel Hat

Label: Montesano
US Release Date: 2002-05-03
Amazon
iTunes

From her earlier days with the Minerals, a Seattle-based indie-pop band, Andrea Maxand continues to forge a small but slowly widening fan base. With the help of Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, Maxand released her debut album this past year with plans for a subsequent EP of material. The EP, unlike the album, will come complete with a full band and supporting cast. But judging by the first album, it appears there will be more on the way from an impressive vocalist. And hopefully all by her lonesome.

Having done nearly all of the instrumentation and arrangements for the nearly dozen songs presented, Maxand starts off with a simple yet infectious tone on the opening "Survival of the Sentiment". Using her electric guitar and especially her voice to carry the track's melody, the song deals with the end of a relationship and coming to the realization it's over. "Hey just let go and let deity have its way," she sings as the song's intensity deliberately rises without any percussion. Maxand's voice isn't exactly coffeehouse friendly, which is a bonus considering the glut of such musicians out there. Her voice has more Throwing Muses in it than Natalie Merchant.

"Velveteen" offers up more of the same but consists of a nice alternative rock rhythm through it. Maxand has a lot in common with Canadian indie-rock singer Julie Doiron. But where as Doiron tends to concentrate on more of a down-tempo or somber arrangements, Maxand goes the alternate route, taking a lemon and making sonic lemonade with it. "Distractions" has Maxand giving the listener brief theatrics with her voice and is all the better for it. The last portion of the song tends to be a bit monotonous though. Fortunately, "Spun" has a definite edge to it, seemingly ready to burst out into some pop rock concoction. Maxand's creates a tension in the song in the style of the Velvet Underground by refusing to give into a bombastic guitar solo. Samples and loops close the number out, but they add little.

The first hint of drums appear on "When God Shuts the Door" under Maxand's guitar. It's perhaps the album's highpoint as everything fits perfectly for nearly three minutes. Maxand sounds like she's in love with a harder sound and isn't keen on stopping just yet. The moody "Not Through Me" though doesn't work well because its mellowness and the almost spoken word delivery of the lyrics are somewhat annoying. Maxand gives a nice vocal for the song's latter half, but the early portion leaves a sour taste of what could have been throughout. "Keep Away" is the album's highpoint, as Maxand swerves between brief high and ethereal vocals and simple "ba da da" ad-libbing in some parts.

Maxand rarely shows his vocal array, but the lullaby vocals on "Peace on TV" are extremely soothing, despite the quirky and voyeuristic topic. "Could I make peace on TV?" she asks as over a naked but consistent guitar chord. Thankfully no loops or samples are added, leaving a less is more idea working quite well. One of the truer songs is "Whine and Shine", which deals with the mundane routine of everyday life, but also sheds some light on songwriter's block. "Who cares who your friends are rock star and shouldn't I have learned another song," she sings. Closing out with her own harmonies on "Penny", Maxand seems content moving between lullaby and ambitious alternative pop. It seems a fitting conclusion for an album of strong musicianship, songwriting, and ideas coming to fruition.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

9
Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.