WE'RE IN an instant age—an age of quick uploads and "disruptive" innovation. It's easy to forget what it's like to truly take time with something. That's why it's nothing short of a relief when artists like the Weather Station come along and remind us what it is to trade instant for intent.
The Weather Station is the working name of Canadian songstress Tamara Lindeman, whose work has conjured up comparisons to musicians like Joni Mitchell and Bill Callahan, just as much for her vocal timbre and gentle finger-picked melodies as for her penetrating lyrics. It'd be easy to assume from their meandering, breezy instrumentation that her songs would be filled with simplistic lyrics, but within Lindeman's wispy delivery are striking depictions of landscape and relationships that read like stand-alone poems or essays.
"I'm very intentional," Lindeman says. "I prefer lyrics that work as a sentence; I'm a bit pragmatic about that. I like when lyrics make sense, all go together, and can read as a paragraph, not these disconnected lines."
The new Weather Station album, Loyalty, is a collection of soft songs bathed in falsetto—sounds that feel like a web illuminated by late-afternoon sunlight. The melodies can be minimal, but the tradeoff comes in moments of such delicacy that the songs seem to be breathing (listen to "Tapes"). There's a stillness and observant quality that makes Loyalty feel—to use another buzzword—mindful.
One of the first decisions was the name itself, Loyalty. "It's a very beautiful word, this very strong value," Lindeman says. "I sort of noticed that in this particular batch of songs, a lot of them dealt with loyalty, but as not necessarily a positive thing. A lot of them were about people, including myself, being caught by loyalty or loyalty holding them. I think it's a very feminine thing," she says.
"The name really works for me because it made me think of so many women in my life and in my past [for whom] I've seen loyalty be kind of a trap. That was sort of a sticky thing for me that stuck in my mind as important to talk about."