WIDOWSPEAK

Di, 09.04.2024
, Bahnhof Pauli

+ Support: LAENA MYERS

Widowspeak remain purveyors of mood. Whether speaking plainly to the mundane details of modern life, dealing in heartbreak and hooks, or conjuring the sweeping openness of a wide angle landscape, they’re a band ever-concerned with the influence of place and the passage of time on personal experience: the way vivid memories can feel like movies or dreams. Anchored by the creative partnership of singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas, Widowspeak in essence operates as a duo: the two write songs with ear-wormy choruses and big guitar chords, supported by warm and expansive arrangements. But they record (and tour) as a full band.

On stage the dynamics shift seamlessly between drifting ballads and reverb-laden walls of sound, all with a humble and laid-back, Velvets-y approach. Hamilton’s delicate voice and Thomas’s adept guitar playing trade space as lead, amid dusty percussion and ambling bass and piano lines.  To see Widowspeak live is to find the band at their usual and best: striking a masterful and cathartic balance between wide-eyed sweetness and resigned melancholy.

The band was formed in 2010 in New York City, born from a fertile music scene then-centered in the DIY venues and warehouse practice spaces of north Brooklyn. Soon after their first few shows, the band was signed to local indie label Captured Tracks, and made a home for itself among like-minded acts such as DIIV, Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, Blouse, and Mac DeMarco, and alongside the shoegaze, pop and rarities reissues the label is known for.  Since then, across six beloved albums and years of touring, Widowspeak have steadily honed their craft. Each entry to their catalog has marked a subtle reimagining of the band’s sound, though some points of reference remain the same: 90’s dream pop, 60’s psych rock, a certain unshakeable Pacific-Northwestness.

The band’s ability to build worlds is apparent across their catalog: the jangly, unpolished honesty of their 2011 self-titled debut; the bucolic, big-mood folk-rock of “Almanac” (2013); the lush and loose country-tinged “All Yours (2015).  2017’s “Expect the Best” found them exploring the darker side of their sound with hazy walls of sound, while 2020’s “Plum” reached back toward the light with hooks galore and a deeply comfortable approach. With 2022’s “The Jacket” (their most recent release), the band trace a loose concept: a fictional rock and roll band’s rise and fall. These songs paint a picture of the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. For all its familiar textures, it still feels entirely fresh within their canon: proudly a guitar record, a rock record, a songwriter’s record. A Widowspeak record: imbued with a sense of collective pause and the ease of a band at the top of their game.

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+ Support: LAENA MYERS

Widowspeak remain purveyors of mood. Whether speaking plainly to the mundane details of modern life, dealing in heartbreak and hooks, or conjuring the sweeping openness of a wide angle landscape, they’re a band ever-concerned with the influence of place and the passage of time on personal experience: the way vivid memories can feel like movies or dreams. Anchored by the creative partnership of singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas, Widowspeak in essence operates as a duo: the two write songs with ear-wormy choruses and big guitar chords, supported by warm and expansive arrangements. But they record (and tour) as a full band.

On stage the dynamics shift seamlessly between drifting ballads and reverb-laden walls of sound, all with a humble and laid-back, Velvets-y approach. Hamilton’s delicate voice and Thomas’s adept guitar playing trade space as lead, amid dusty percussion and ambling bass and piano lines.  To see Widowspeak live is to find the band at their usual and best: striking a masterful and cathartic balance between wide-eyed sweetness and resigned melancholy.

The band was formed in 2010 in New York City, born from a fertile music scene then-centered in the DIY venues and warehouse practice spaces of north Brooklyn. Soon after their first few shows, the band was signed to local indie label Captured Tracks, and made a home for itself among like-minded acts such as DIIV, Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, Blouse, and Mac DeMarco, and alongside the shoegaze, pop and rarities reissues the label is known for.  Since then, across six beloved albums and years of touring, Widowspeak have steadily honed their craft. Each entry to their catalog has marked a subtle reimagining of the band’s sound, though some points of reference remain the same: 90’s dream pop, 60’s psych rock, a certain unshakeable Pacific-Northwestness.

The band’s ability to build worlds is apparent across their catalog: the jangly, unpolished honesty of their 2011 self-titled debut; the bucolic, big-mood folk-rock of “Almanac” (2013); the lush and loose country-tinged “All Yours (2015).  2017’s “Expect the Best” found them exploring the darker side of their sound with hazy walls of sound, while 2020’s “Plum” reached back toward the light with hooks galore and a deeply comfortable approach. With 2022’s “The Jacket” (their most recent release), the band trace a loose concept: a fictional rock and roll band’s rise and fall. These songs paint a picture of the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. For all its familiar textures, it still feels entirely fresh within their canon: proudly a guitar record, a rock record, a songwriter’s record. A Widowspeak record: imbued with a sense of collective pause and the ease of a band at the top of their game.