Little Scream (aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer) is making her return Soda Bar on the Nov. 15 with Bobby and Odd Shapes -- and this time, she's headlining.
I first discovered Little Scream when she opened for Sharon Van Etten at Soda Bar earlier this year, and it was one of those rare moments when the opener stole the show, which was no small feat, because Van Etten bears that kind of powerful presence herself. Little Scream's record The Golden Record was critically acclaimed for its totally original aesthetic, using vocal loops and otherworldly sounds that touched on nearly every genre and style of music. It's the kind of record worth examining, because it's innovative in the same way Dirty Projectors, tUnE-YaRds, and Buke and Gass are -- but with her softened femininity, it's never too harsh, nor does she ever take herself too seriously.
Sprengelmeyer was primed to stand out, with a tool belt full of artists that include Patty McGee (Stars), Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre) and Aaron Dessner (The National) performing on the record. The record's charm is its versatility, allowing itself to be both sparse ("Heron and the Fox") and decadent ("Red Hunting Jacket"). Whether her hearty instrumentation takes a turn toward flutes and thunderous drums, regal keys or acoustic guitar, her lyrics are thick with imagination and a wisdom best understood by those who can think it but are still too restless to really feel it. When she sings, "What can we communicate that won't just turn to dust?," she's beginning to peek through those curtains and, tugging away, asking, What else? What more? She uses classical narratives, taking us to eras like the Old West, Impressionism, childhood, and combines them with futuristic sounds of celestial echos, loops and synthesizers.
The Iowa native moved to Montreal and broke into the music scene after connecting with multi-instrumentalist Richard Perry at a party. She went on to record The Golden Record with him, a debut that garnered a high-ranking 8.1 on Pitchfork and will undoubtedly go on to grace the tops of every blog's Best of 2011 list. Not to mention the beautifully painted album artwork was created by Sprengelmeyer herself. As a self-proclaimed introvert, it's a medium she sometimes prefers.
The range of songs on the record were meant to take you on a journey, and Little Scream's has certainly just begun. Check her out at Soda Bar on Nov 15 with Bobby and Odd Shapes. You will not be disappointed.