As we enter the end of January and begin February, the joys of winter have seemed to pass. There's no holiday season to look forward to or the exciting expectation of New Year's Eve. Instead, we have to begrudgingly go back to school and jobs while the cold weather and early darkness makes everyday slightly more miserable. During this time, I usually fill my ears with music that is both fitting for season but also gives me hope for the spring months that aren't too far away. For example, I've been listening to Angel Olsen basically nonstop since 2013 began. And when I heard Julie Byrne, a singer-songwriter from Chicago, for the first time, she was instantly added to the rotation.
Faster or Greener Than Now is Byrne's first release on Owen Ashworth's (of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and Advance Base) label, Ordinal Records, and her first release on vinyl. There are only two songs on the 7", but they both show the immense talent Byrne has as a songwriter, vocalist, and musician. On both tracks, Byrne yields her voice from hushed tones to a soaring force over simple acoustic guitar to convey the powerful emotion in her music. The A-side of the record is "Holiday", which is the melancholy tale of a meeting on New Year's Eve in New York (something we recently experienced) and the potential of a life together before the relationship falls out. The B-side, "Marmalade", is a realistic and intricate portrayal of the love and loss we all experience. She sings about specific moments, but it sounds as if she could be singing about anyone's relationship. Byrne has the ability to become a prominent voice within folk music, which is a genre that doesn't receive as much attention as it did in the past. I'm looking forward to see what Byrne will be putting out in the new year, and for now, I'll keep listening to these two songs on repeat while I avoid the cold outdoors.
Julie Byrne's Faster or Greener Than Now can be purchased here.
Written by Emily Thompson