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Thursday February 25 2016
 7:00PM doors -- music at 8:00PM ••• ALL AGES
$12 in advance / $14 at the door

Julien Baker
 post-folksy singer-songwriter
Gracie And Rachel
 Orchestral pop - piano violin duo
Kacey Johansing
 folk chamber pop classical dream soul
Debbie Neigher
  Pop, Indie

Julien Baker
Julien Baker
-from  Memphis, TN

-If Julien Baker wasn't cracking something close to a smile on the cover of Sprained Ankle, I wouldn't be certain that it was meant for public consumption. Much of the album was written in isolation—after Baker left Memphis for Middle Tennessee State University, she worked on these songs in a soundproof booth within the campus music building. It was recorded in Richmond's Spacebomb Studios, a destination du jour that birthed lusciously orchestrated countrypolitan records from Matthew E. White and Natalie Prass this year, but these one-mic and one-take songs could have easily been tracked in an MTSU bathroom. Listening to it can occasionally feel like a violation of her privacy. Sprained Ankle is a solo, singer-songwriter album, but very little of it would be considered "folky." She professes David Bazan, mewithoutYou's Aaron Weiss, and Ben Gibbard as idols, but her guitar playing bears more of their influence than their vocals. She's a minimalist, playing bassy clusters of melodic thirds, flicking silvery harmonics, palm-muting chords. It's gorgeously recorded and yet, there's still the suggestion that these might've been demos—the scant overdubs of drums or harmonized vocals just drive home how lonely Baker is, that she may have meant these to eventually be full-band arrangements one day.

There are traces of other current acts in her sound—the album title is inspired by a lyric ("Sprinter learning to wait/ Marathon runner, my ankles are sprained") that instantly brings up the similarly ecclesiastical bloodletting of fellow Tennessean Torres, while her thick, close-harmonizing recalls Sharon Van Etten.  But considering her formative listening experiences and punk roots, by the time she reaches the high notes over an aggressively strummed, stock descending chord pattern in "Everybody Does", her most apt comparison might be Dashboard Confessional. Before Chris Carrabba became a caricature of himself and an avatar for emo-as-a-Halloween-costume, there really wasn't much else like him for the hardcore kids. Baker has the same kind of magnetism to get lines like, "I am so good at hurting myself", sung by a crowd of young acolytes. Baker's metaphors can also be similarly excessive and clunky at times ("I know I am a pile of filthy wreckage you will wish you never touched").

•••new album on Spotify•••       

Gracie And Rachel
Gracie Coates, lead vocals, piano, Rachel Ruggles, violin, vocals
-from Berkeley to Brooklyn

-The Brooklyn-based, Berkeley-raised piano-violin duo, Gracie and Rachel, crafts intricate tunes combining classical string elements with haunting, fierce vocals augmented by sparse but powerful percussion. It is ivory satin lined with teeth, finding beauty in stark simplicity and pausing to breathe a hint of the abstract into the highly emotive, evolved body they create.

Their forthcoming debut album "Go" is a penetrating record of a lifelong friendship which flows freely between virtuosic violin textures to sylphlike melodies highlighting seasoned songwriting. The result: a heartfelt glimpse into two artists’ intertwined lives. From the pit of despair to the summit of success, Gracie and Rachel are always headed somewhere new.

Kacey Johansing
Kacey Johansing & friends
-from Bay Area, CA

-Described by The Bay Bridged as “gorgeous acoustic pop”, San Francisco based musician Kacey Johansing creates songs with meandering melodies, lush harmonies and moody aural landscapes. Weaving together elements of folk, jazz, pop and classical music, it sounds as if she spent years studying in old smoky theaters with icons Leonard Bernstein and Joni Mitchell directing the show, and The Beach Boys in the orchestra pit. A soulful, honeyed voice and lilting vibrato land her the leading role.

Collaboration has proven to be a fundamental part of Johansing’s creative process. She has been a member of San Francisco groups Geographer and Honeycomb, and is a current member of the experimental folk duo Yesway. Johansing has shared the stage and contributed to projects with local talents Tune-Yards, Sean Hayes, Mirah and Thao Nguyen and has collaborated with French filmmaker Vincent Moon.

Debbie Neigher
Debbie Neigher (keyboards/vocals) Chris Sugiura (bass/guitar) Kyle Kelly-Yahner (drums) Jess Silva (vocals/keyboards)
-from San Francisco, CA

-An artist with a gift for earnest lyricism, Debbie Neigher is one of San Francisco’s most promising singer-songwriters. On Unravel, her sophomore album produced by John Vanderslice (Spoon, The Mountain Goats), Neigher explores her battles with vulnerability through luminous singing, expressive keyboard work, and startling arrangements.

Unravel navigates her journey toward self-acceptance through insightful, dream-like ballads, as well as triumphant, danceable pop anthems, vividly expressing her joys and sorrows in a way that is disarming and inspiring in equal measures. The music on Unravel moves in delightfully unexpected directions, incorporating her years of classical piano training with an indie pop and jazz approach.