The pop landscape has been littered with nu Dylans, old Janis Ians (eg. Janis Ian) and any number of generational spokesmodels, troubled troubadours and assholes with bad pompadours. And those are just the good parts of my record collection.
Occasionally, somebody not only sticks out from the pack, but manages for the space of 3 minutes or 45, to make you forget there is a pack. To make you forget that said (wacky) packs even exist. At the risk of scaring you with my crude, and poorly taped-up hyperbole stick, I submit that not only is Jennifer O’Connor that kind of artist, but that within a matter of months, you’ll be the one hassling your friends about how fantastic her 4th album is rather than me. I’ll have already done so.
Jennifer recorded her new LP/CD ‘Here With Me’ (OLE 787-1,2earlier this year with John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth) at Brooklyn’s Headgear Studios. It’s a breezier, more upbeat work than 2006′s fantastic ‘Over The Mountain, Across The Valley and Back To The Stars’, but I’d be lying if I told you the new album packed any less of an emotional wallop. Jennifer’s songs have never before sounded this crafted, or hit the listener with such immediacy.
Backed by a crack backing trio of Jon Langmead, Michael Broadlieb and Michael Strandberg (and joined, briefly, by Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay), O’Connor tackles her most evocative pile of relationship-tunes with something approaching surgical precision. Over the past 6 years, Jennifer’s gotten scary good at this sort of thing, so much so that most other contenders for the hypothetical Nobel prize for Witty Pop Songs W/ Heart are either former members of this label’s roster (we’re thinking Manning/Phair/Daniel but if you wanna nominate someone more contemporary, please go right ahead) or they’ve already been embalmed in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
Jennifer has a bunch of tour dates planned for this summer (see below) with more to come throughout 2008. In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll be selectively previewing more of ‘Here With Me’, along with some exclusive video content. Until then, here’s the first MP3 from the forthcoming LP/CD, “Valley Road ’86″.
june 4 Chicago, IL Abbey Pub
june 5 Toronto, ON Opera House
june 6 Ottowa, ON Babylon
june 7 Boston, MA Paradise
june 8 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
june 9 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
june 11 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe
june 12 Washington, D.C. 9:30 Club
(above dates supporting Jamie Lidell)
july 13 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
july 14 Columbia, MO
july 18 Minneapolis, MN Uptown Bar
july 19 Fargo, ND Aquarium/Dempseys Upstairs
july 20 Sioux Falls, SD Nutty’s North
(above dates supporting Son Ambulance)