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Jessica Pratt — Jessica Pratt (2012)

 Jessica Pratt — Jessica Pratt (2012)

Jessica Pratt — Jessica Pratt
Traditional folk that's dreamy, poetic, heartfelt, and beautifully sung.
For fans of: Sibylle Baier, Kath Bloom, Joanna Newsome, Joan Baez
Birth name: Jessica Lynn Pratt
Born: 1987
Location: San Francisco, California
Album release: November 6, 2012
Record Label: Birth Records
Duration:     41:06
Tracks:
01. Night Faces      (4:09)
02. Hollywood      (3:28)
03. Bushel Hyde      (4:11)
04. Mountain'r Lower      (3:19)
05. Half Twain The Jesse      (5:26)
06. Casper      (4:26)
07. Midnight Wheels      (3:19)
08. Mother Big River      (4:20)
09. Streets Of Mine      (2:44)
10. Titles Under Pressure      (2:33)
11. Dreams      (3:12)
Editorial Reviews
¶  I never wanted to ever start a record label. Ever. But there is something about her voice I couldn t let go of. It s an actual voice. An actual beautiful voice. This one s a classic sounding voice. Not to mention her songwriting, recording and guitar playing. Jessica Pratt s music feels like I have found the lost LP of an old, forgotten mystical folk singer that feeling of discovering a record all by myself, without the help of friends or the internet. Like Stevie Nicks singing over David Crosby demos, with the intimacy of a Sibylle Baier. I am in love with it. So much, that I saved up and threw all my money to get it into this world. I actually care about it, no matter which way the winds blow. Tim Presley, White Fence 
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/DedFlowrs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicalynnpratt?fref=ts
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REVIEW
John Mulvey; 1st November 2012
¶  As the first song of Jessica Pratt’s first album begins, you could be forgiven for believing it was a private press folk album from the early ‘70s. The work of a lost canyon comrade of Linda Perhacs, perhaps, or the implausibly lovely efforts of a “Blue” disciple from some one-horse town in the mid-west.
¶  In fact, Pratt is from San Francisco, and her self-titled debut has only just been released on a new label, Birth Records, operated by the estimable Tim Presley, who’s made a good few fine records of his own in the past couple of years as White Fence. Presley was quoted on Pitchfork a couple of days ago as having launched Birth purely to put out Pratt’s record. She reminded him, Presley said, of "Stevie Nicks singing over David Crosby demos."
¶  That’s a nice way of putting it, but it only goes some way to articulating the loveliness of this close-miked, low-lit album. Mostly, it sounds like it was recorded solo, in small rooms, though the closing “Dreams” features a harmony vocal, quite possibly provided by Pratt herself. That one sounds a little more like a lost Fred Neil song than a Crosby one, though Presley’s comparison is still valid even here: there’s a prevailing distrait wooziness, a sense of songs coming together in a satisfying form as they’re being performed, that is like “If I Could Only Remember My Name”.
¶  A couple of contemporary reference points might help, too. One would be Meg Baird, whose records away from Espers – especially the one she made this summer with her sister, “Until You Find Your Green” – have a similar kind of uncanny calm; a certain atmosphere which could be called vintage, but might be better described as timeless.
¶  Pratt’s voice is a gently agile one, at times with a fleeting huskiness that recalls Nicks, or some of the languid and forlorn gymnastics of Karen Dalton. It’s hard, though, to avoid a comparison with Joanna Newsom circa “The Milk Eyed Mender”. Pratt isn’t so idiosyncratic, but there are moments – “Bushel Hyde”, for example, which briefly threatens to turn into “Bridges And Balloons” – when there’s a comparable small, fresh sense of wonder to these jewel-like songs; as if, again, they were being recorded at the moment of creation.
¶  A really special find, I think, and an artist who promises much, too. The album’s out now – or at least it is a download – but you could start by having a listen to that opening track, “Night Faces”. See what you think…
Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/
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Why you should check them out:
¶  Don’t fret if you haven’t heard about Jessica Pratt just yet. It seems this apprehensive newcomer to the San Francisco folk scene is a little surprised herself, having experienced recent, rapid exposure characterized by a string of impressive “firsts.”  Her eponymous first album was released last year, which also saw her first-ever live performance. The album was the first to be released under Birth Records, a label formed by Tim Presley (of White Fence) specifically for this purpose. With a fantastical bent, despondent lyrics that harken back to the 60’s folk era, and bare-bones instrumentation, it’s a record that is as unique as it is impetuous.
Background check:
¶  One spin of Jessica Pratt’s self-titled album should give any listener pause. This is not your run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter debut; in fact the label’s connotation doesn’t really apply, here. The first thing to jump out of the speakers are her cooing, shimmering vocals. Pratt’s voice is plaintively honest and undulates between softly trilling peaks to husky, lower pitches, to the point that some reviewers cite male vocals on the album’s last song, "Dreams" (the deeper, backing vocals are actually Pratt’s own voice, with the pitch slowed down). These quietly gritty songs are 100% analog, true to Pratt’s no-frills style.
¶  This album might transport some listeners back to the days of rainy-day whimsy with Joan Baez on the turntable. Like the freak-folk musicians of the early 2000’s, however, these aren’t necessarily comparisons with which Pratt associates herself. From all accounts, Pratt’s hesitant sidestep into the limelight was entirely unplanned. A friend of a friend heard her songs and ran with it, Presley signed her to Birth Records, the first pressing of 500 albums sold out with surprising speed, and a quasi-reluctant star was born. In a world where American Idol and multi-million-dollar PR campaigns set the stage for synthetic music that offers little in the way an identifiable soul, there is something refreshing in this unlikely emergence.
Fortaken: http://myspoonful.com/jessica-pratt/
In french:
¶  Un bon premier album de folk intimiste et fragile avec de jolies et agréables mélodies par une jeune Californienne. A découvrir.
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REVIEW
By Jack Tripper
Score: ****
¶  Jessica Pratt's new album, her first, is actually a collection of her recordings over the last 5 years, and definitely isn't the neo-folk or freak-folk that indie music fans are accustomed to these days. This is more like your dad's--or his dad's--folk music: just a gorgeous voice, an acoustic guitar, and a set of exceptional tunes. However, these songs are much dreamier than anything Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell released back in the day, with Pratt's nasally-yet-soothing vocals floating lazily above gentle fingerpicking, resulting in a listening experience that is very serene and relaxing, perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.
¶  It's not easy, in today's musical landscape, to stand apart from the crowd while singing traditional folk, but songs like the hauntingly beautiful, Joni Mitchell-esque "Bushel Hyde," the Appalachian vibe of both "Mountain'r Lower" and "Casper," and the languid, hypnotic "Mother Big River," prove that Pratt isn't just another coffee shop folk-singer, but one that deserves to be heard by all music fans, regardless of their genre leanings. The poetic, heartbreaking lyrics combined with excellent melodies are more than enough to separate her from the pack. Not every song here worked for me, but those that didn't were few and far between.
¶  While Jessica Pratt's self-titled may not immediately catch the ear of the modern indie fan--who may disregard any album that doesn't immediately sound unique or weird--the music will definitely stick with you, if you let it. There's no denying the power of a simple, great melody and heartfelt lyrics that ring true. The music found here has a timeless quality about it; it sounds good now and it will continue to sound good 20 years from now. She may be only 19, but here she sounds wise beyond her years, and I for one look forward to hearing where she goes next.
Review by Molly O'Brien
¶  The first result for the “Jessica Pratt” Google search is a soprano in a bloodstained white opera costume. This is not the Jessica Pratt you’re seeking. Look a little harder for this woman; like her music, she appears subtle but is worth seeking out.
¶  Pratt’s self-titled album, released through new label Birth Records, is actually a collection of her recordings from the past five years. They don’t sound mismatched or hastily smashed together as compilations sometimes tend to be; Jessica Pratt is eleven songs in forty-one minutes, the most pleasant stream of acoustic fingerpicked dream songs, beginning with the burnished “Night Faces” and ending with “Dreams,” a woozy boy-girl fade-out with a series of “doo doo doos” that trip up and down the scale like sleepy kids on their slow way to up the stairs to bed.
Anyone who’s caught a local open mic night knows it’s hard to stand out in a crowded coffee shop of singer-songwriters. Sound like everyone else, and you’ll never be heard; make music that’s too weird and someone will tack the word “freak” on whatever brand of folk you’re peddling. This is the climate in which Pratt lives, the climate she conquers on this album.
¶  Context counts for Pratt, whose unique voice—nasal, measured, down-home and cosmopolitan at the same time—has the potential to turn off listeners not yet accustomed to the quirky pipes of indie singers like Joanna Newsom or Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste or Alt-J’s Joe Newman. We train ourselves to get used to unfamiliar music, adjust bit by bit to our doses of Grimes and witch house and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, until they trickle into the mainstream and stranger music comes to upset our ears once again. Jessica Pratt makes relatively straightforward acoustic folk, but her voice (along with a touch of unplaceable witchcraft) sets her soft tunes apart, makes them odd and endearing, makes them novel. She seems to understand the power of her voice, so even though she couches it in lo-fi cassette crackles (on “Half Twain The Jesse”), double-tracks it with an identical twin (“Hollywood”) and complements it with a falsetto harmony (“Mountain’r Lower”), she never fails to reveal it in full, placing it front and center, right where it should be.
¶  Her kind of folk always ends up a bit off-kilter, chords changing with apparent misdirection before ending up in a place that makes absolute sense. On “Midnight Wheels,” she sings of the midnight wheels that were “turning all the time,” then breaks into a succession of one-note “ohs” that are impenetrably sad. She teaches us that a quick mid-syllable lilt or a high, extended vibrato make the difference between bland rhymes and lyrics that appear to mean something. “Streets Of Mine,” is a simple lament—“In this town/I walk by your door/Things change/I can’t see you anymore/And you go to places that we’ve gone before”—transposed by Pratt’s voice into something weighty and wise.
¶  I can’t imagine it’s easy to perfect Pratt’s blend of simplicity and weight, but she makes it sound easy. This album strain on the ears or on the brain, but when the last track plays out its last seconds, it leaves a feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction is not disposable. Jessica Pratt has hit upon a sound that she should stick with for a while.
Fortaken: http://www.prefixmag.com/
Also:
By Philip Cosores on November 27th, 2012; Score: ****
:: http://consequenceofsound.net/2012/11/album-review-jessica-pratt-jessica-pratt/
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Jessica Pratt — Jessica Pratt (2012)

 

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