The Weather Station
Tamara Lindeman, the Canadian who has been making music under the Weather Station moniker since 2006, achieved a high water mark in 2021 with the album Ignorance, a stunning meditation on the growing devastation of climate change and the internal struggles of maintaining healthy relationships. From her earliest days her work has evoked the ambitious breadth and the elastic phrasing of Joni Mitchell, a comparison Lindeman only encouraged with an album coursing with the jazz sounds that Mitchell has embraced for decades.
Her writing is personal and poetic, and even when addressing something as depressing and concrete as global warming, she applies a narrative elegance that never feels preachy or didactic. “I feel as useless as a tree in a city park, standing as a symbol of what we have blown apart,” she sings with characteristic candor, on the song “Tried to Tell You.”
More recently she released How is It That I Should Look at the Stars, a collection of songs written during the same period of her previous album and recorded in March of 2020, just as the pandemic was about to shut life down. Instead of continuing with the slick synth-driven sound of developed with her working band, enhanced by some protean jazz soloists, the new album is built largely around her own piano playing, although some other jazz figures like reedist Karen Ng and keyboardist Tania Gill turn up to contribute economic, hushed improvisations here and there.
The sparse arrangements place the gorgeous interiority of Lindeman’s voice front-and-center. As the New York Times said of her latest album, “Lindeman’s precise lyricism zooms in on particular human experiences and scenes, but her airy, piano-driven compositions allow for all sorts of environmental ambience and collective anxieties to seep in.”