Brooke Waggoner: Sweven (Album Review)

Brooke Waggoner just released her new album, Sweven. Brooke has gradually become one of my favorite artists after her beautiful debut, Go Easy Little Doves, and the exhilarating followup, Originator – not to mention her thrilling 2012 live performance at Mountain Stage. So Sweven was definitely my most anticipated album of the new year. I’m happy to say it exceeds even my high expectations of this singularly spectacular artist.

This glorious album somehow manages to marry old-fashioned player piano jauntiness with a futuristic, spatial – as in outer space as well as scope – flow. Think Scott Joplin meets David Bowie.

Even such lofty points of reference are tenuous comparisons at best. Brooke Waggoner’s music continues to be extraordinarily original. Even when you think you have her unique sound pegged down, she throws something even more unexpected into the mix.

Brooke’s deft, playfully beautiful touch on piano is especially distinctive and bewitching in “Proof,” the album’s title track and the exquisite instrumental “Egg Shells.”

The gorgeous song “Fellow” redefines the critically-overused adjective haunting.

“Cherry-Pick” is a spoken word poem set to music. The poem and melody are Brooke’s, but the voice is that of an elderly man. Said man is a geriatric patient of Brooke’s husband, his recitation was recorded by iPhone and his haggard voice is not dissimilar to that of William S. Burroughs.

Other tracks like “Widow Maker” and “Pennies & Youth” have a different kind of unusual juxtaposition, one of catchy pop and dark strings that is reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

If Brooke Waggoner’s Sweven is not my #1 album of 2016, it’s gonna be a mind-blowing year for music. It already is.

Brooke will return to Mountain Stage on February 14th.

Download a free, legal EP comprised of 3 mp3s from the album and 2 alternative tracks at Noisetrade.

Buy @ Amazon

Brooke Waggoner Official Site

Brooke Waggoner: Originator Free Album Download!!!

I have no idea why one of the best albums of the year is available as a free, legal download on Noisetrade, but it is. You can nab mp3s of Brooke Waggoner’s entire, exquisite album, Originator (click title for review), by entering your email address below. I was just listening to this album again this week in preparation for my year end list – on which it will most certainly appear – and I can’t recommend it enough. You can also watch the videos for my two favorite tracks from the album, “Squint” and “Rumble,” below.

Brooke Waggoner: Originator

Finally, new music to get excited about! Two weeks into 2013, I’ve been disappointed with the lackluster new releases I’ve heard so far. Then Brooke Waggoner’s Originator blew in like a breath of very fresh air. I’d been anticipating the album since Brooke’s spectacular set at Mountain Stage last November. Originator is set for release on March 5th and it’s an extraordinary collection.

When Brooke performed these songs live, her voice and piano roared with fiery, passionate intensity. Unfortunately, the soft focus production of the album dampens that fire a bit. I’m guessing the goal was to give Originator the same ethereal sound as Brooke’s debut, Go Easy Little Doves, but I preferred Brooke’s unrestrained live performance of these songs. Regardless, Originator is a beautiful, brilliant and absolutely enchanting album.

The opener “Shiftshape” glides, soars, plummets and rises again on gentle jetstreams of piano.

“Rumble” is the standout track with its “my second wind” refrain and thunderous piano crashes layered over bombastic horns and choral voices.

“From The Nest” is a lovely ballad, while “Ink Slinger” is a fantastically frenetic pop song.

“Squint” has the languid atmosphere of a Pink Floyd song….that is, if it were covered by Tori Amos.

The beautifully orchestral “Waterlogged” is a rolling rumination on the ups and downs of life, and “To Love” is the quiet, moody finale.

I keep a “nominations” list throughout each year to help me compile my annual Top Albums lists. Brooke Waggoner’s Originator is the first album to be added to my 2013 Top Albums nominations list.

You can download a free, legal mp3 of “Ink Slinger” at the following link…

Brooke Waggoner – Ink Slinger (mp3 download page)


Brook Waggoner Official Site