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Gentle does it on Andrea Maxand’s solo debut
24 May 2002
There’s soft as in feather pillows and powdery snow and babies. Then there’s gentle.

In the late ’90s, exceptional Seattle singer/songwriter Andrea Maxand built a passionately loyal following in the nearby college town of Bellingham, playing solo and with The Minerals. Plans to record on Seattle’s Montesano Records with that band fell through as it dissolved, but Maxand—who’d written their songs—kept her contract and during the summer of 2000 recorded more than an album’s worth of tracks along with Death Cab For Cutie’s prolific Chris Walla enginering, producing, and playing on a few songs.
    Walla and Maxand recorded her debut LP, Angel Hat, at The Hall Of Justice, a floating location that, at the time, was a garage in Seattle also used as DCFC’s practice space. The album is raw, even roughhewn, coming across more like a demo than a finished product. To appreciate it takes some imagination and patience.
    But this is the record that will go out of print and then when Maxand eventually gets noticed by, say, Greil Marcus or Steve Lamacq, and then, say, Matador picks her up and gives her songs the sort of treatment and framing and publicity they deserve and puts out her breakthrough album... well, then, this is the album that the cool people will already have and everyone else will ask them to please make a CD-R copy.
    Maxand’s voice, often multitracked here in ethereal harmony, is eminently feminine and gentle—as in Mother Nature on a good day. But there’s an emotional storminess and a sardonic if not iconoclastic worldview fueling these seemingly innocent songs, with words like We’ve all seen angels/ We all need angels/ We all breed angels with our eyes; and You found the answer/ Can you find the floor?/ Can you find the door?; and Remember the words to say/ Remember the piece to play/ Remember the questions you’re entitled to.
    Montesano released Angel Hat with limited distribution last November, and then re-released it with wider distribution on 16 April. This summer they’ll put out an EP featuring Maxand with a full band, produced again by Walla.
    With a refreshingly naive and natively-gifted sense of melody and phrase, Andrea Maxand has a lot to tell us. Angel Hat is the early glimpse that only the lucky few will pick up on. Three bites out of five

Rockbites ratings  5: life changing, 4: stunning, 3: captivating, 2: amusing, 1: annoying.

Andrea Maxand’s forthcoming EP will include full-band reworkings of her album tracks Distractions, Spun, When God Shuts The Door, and Keep Away; along with new tracks Paper Cut and Practice Hour. She recorded all of them late last summer in Seattle. Guests include Chuck Keller and Jason McGerr (who play with Seattle space-country act Neo) and Lisa Van Arsdale (of Tart). | Andrea Maxand on Montesano | | Montesano Records | | CD from Amazon US | | top of page |


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