Release Date: Mar 29, 2011
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Country, Pop/Rock
On her first record in six years -- and her debut for Simon Raymonde's Bella Union imprint -- Heidi Spencer & the Rare Birds don't stray far from the meld of classic-era British folk, Americana, and shimmering, low-key rock that established their well-deserved reputation. That said, Spencer's songcraft, while always poignant, has grown immeasurably. Her focus lyrically and musically is sharper; more unsettling in terms of its ability to create indelible portraits of her protagonists and their constant hunger and yearning.
These days, it appears that you can’t stroll through any major musical city without entreating on the sweet, smoky tones of some jazz-inflected chanteuse. It has become one of the most defining musical trends of the last decade or so: late night tales of heartbreak and cigarettes metaphorically cutting patterns in the thick evening air. In the case of Amy Winehouse of course, this means literally cutting and scrawling patterns with bottles and cigarettes on anything or quite possibly anyone she can lay her hands on.
Spencer’s sweet, barbed voice tells of secret liaisons and drunken encounters. Daniel Ross 2011 Variously a travelling filmmaker and singer-songwriter, Milwaukee's Heidi Spencer (performing with her group The Rare Birds) has a remarkably singular musical vision for someone who has previously straddled mediums. Her sound on Under Streetlight Glow is, perhaps unsurprisingly given the title, city-dwelling, briskly jazzy and folky by turns, and governed by her sweet, barbed voice.