Posts Tagged ‘Pearl Charles’

Pearl Charles – “Take Your Time”

I’ve spilled a lot of ink on the new Pearl Charles, but it is indeed a charming and comforting record, already posed as one of the year’s best, so what’s one more time for those who haven’t basked in its glow. Back in October the single “Take Your Time” eked out with a calmer temperament than her first — a Laurel Canyon country swoon with hooks wallpapered in velvet and bathed in sunlight. The video for the single lands this week and its a lush, Kodachrome affair with Pearl cycling through ‘70s looks that all seem to sum up the album at once. The record slips from ABBA and the fraught Fleetwood years then cools the lights with touches of Linda Ronstadt and Judee Sill. If this has somehow eluded you up until now, let this video be a good reason to get it on the speakers.

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Pearl Charles

If you’ve been hanging around the halls of Raven for the past few months, then Pearl Charles’ name should feel familiar. Following a long run of excellent singles, Charles’ new album Magic Mirror is finally here and fueling dreams of dodging out 2021 in the arms of an alternate universe 1971 instead. The record springboards off of the zipwaxed pop of her previous album, with a country-rock rework of “Night Tides” eking out midway through last year that gave some inclinations of how her significantly her sound had shifted. The record begins in a post-disco comedown, still in thrall to the a neon halo of slicked pop that gives way to the country comedowns that permeate the bulk of the rest of the album. Packing its possessions in the car and leaving the ABBA LPs on the counter with a note for the next tenant to take care of them, Charles heads for the Canyon calm of Linda Ronstadt channeling Young and Anderson, The Burritos lamenting “Four Days of Rain” and a touch of Fleetwood Mac’s studio sheen.

The record’s hooks are hung in macrame, but there’s still a timelessness about the album. It’s one of those rare records in which the influences lay so bare on its sleeves — exposed and uncontested – and yet it allows itself to acquire the evergreen qualities of Charles’ heroes rather than wind up a blurred copy of the past. Some of the credit has to go to the assembled players around Charles — Michael Rault, Ryan Miller, Dustin Bookatz, and Nigel Wilson — who bring her vision and songwriting to life like a modern day Wrecking Crew. The sounds here are rendered in Kodachrome perfection that hangs in the room like a photograph that brings a wistful smile every time it gets passed.

Pearl and the band are able to weave across genre lines with a studied hand that belies the songwriter’s youth. Like Jenny Lewis before her, she’s a modern troubadour with soft spots for introspection matched by hooks that hang in the back of the mind when they’re not trapped in a bittersweet sigh in the chest. Along the way on Magic Mirror Pearl explores themes of slipping away from a partner, slipping away from oneself, and aging into the best version of oneself. It’s a coming of age record that’s going to feel as welcome during the turbulence of youth as it does in the hindsight of age. It’s hard to had down a declaration that one of the best records of 2021 has landed in the first couple of weeks, but all I’m saying is you all better remember this one come next December.

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Pearl Charles on Toni Brown – Good For You, Too

One of the records that sits atop my anticipated pile for 2021 is Magic Mirror from songwriter Pearl Charles. Her last album tested out several strains of pop, but this new one smelts a potent mix of country, folk and soul with a confidence that’s hard to shake. The record shakes off the excess of the night and wanders up canyon roads into a lush ‘70s sound that’s been long simmering under her works. As the album approaches next month, I though Pearl would be great for a pick in the Hidden Gems series and she certainly didn’t disappoint, with a deep crate-dug ‘70s record that has eluded me up to this point. Check out how the Toni Brown’s solo LP came into Charles’ life and the impact that its made on her.

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Pearl Charles – “Imposter”

The new LP from Pearl Charles keeps giving with a third single out this week that’s splashed with just a touch more AM gold than on the past two. Still weathered with the California cool that permeates her new album, the new song bounces on a sunny beat but gets caught the heartsick swirl of keys, a vertigo tug of guitars, and Pearl’s sighed vocals that betray a lostness that’s easy to relate to. The song’s based in feeling like a fraud, sure to be found out at anytime by peers and friends at any moment. The harsh self-reflection and knowing doubt bump against the song’s seeming calm with a slight tension, though this still fits nicely into the album’s wood paneled wonderland.

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Pearl Charles – “Take Your Time”

Today finds us left with another tender single from the upcoming Pearl Charles LP. The record pushes her away from some of the disco skip of her last record and into the full sway of the sunset stretches of ‘70s Canyon nights with a light scent of Cosmic Country on the breeze. “Take Your Time” is more at peace than “What I Need” — laced with the soft twang of guitars, a tumble of last call piano, and Charles’ heart-stung vocals. The song’s a reminder to slow down and drink in the moment, which is perhaps a helpful reminder while we’re all preoccupied with the crumble of Western Civilization. Yet it still bears some weight that a comfortable autumn afternoon with the right kind of air and a ripple of wind through the leaves can let most anything wait for an hour or so. The new album is out January 15th from Kanine.




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Pearl Charles – “What I Need”

There was an inkling of change that snuck into the subtle EP that slipped out from Pearl Charles earlier this summer. The reworking of “Night Tides” from a disco romp into a country cool down was an unexpected treat this year. Charles’ new LP for Kanine follows suit in the best ways, trading off the ‘70s sweat of a dancefloor hangover for a quiet twilight in the bungalow alone, spinning the euphoria of the night into a melancholy melt that tugs at the suede center of the soul. Hung on a slouched organ line and sundown slides, the first single “What I Need” sums up the album nicely — a lone saunter down the strip with a chill in the air, smoke and sweat escaping into the atmosphere. The buzz of the night is coursing through the veins right up until the moment when a bittersweet lump forms in the throat. While it’s quite naturally about how this feeling might arise in the end of a relationship, the analogy works the same as any whirlwind night. There’s a knowing feeling that washes over you, an ache that enters, knowing that its over before you hit the sheets, stuck between bliss and the emptiness of a lonesome morning. Her last album waded into several pop waters, but this one dives into the deep end with a confidence that’s hard to shake. The record arrives January 15th on Kanine.



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Mixtape: Goodwill Cowboys Ride Again

At the end of last year I put together a mixtape that shifted the focus of the series from more archival offerings to something that wrapped up newer artists. Some Cowboy You Turned Out To Be took a look at a new wave if indie, alt, and cosmic country and now I’m offering up a sequel that expands the spectrum, reaching back a couple of years to nab some I’ve missed and including a crush of new songs that have found their way out in the last year. The wave of Cosmic Americana is still going strong and there are a lot of new names here and even a couple that cropped up on Cowboy that have already let new gems out in to the air. The last time the mix had a bit of a heavy heart, but there’s a bit more jubilance this time around. Continuing with the cowboy theme, I’ve nabbed a bit of phrasing from Michael Chapman for this mix.Check out the trackless and stream below.

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Pearl Charles – “Night Tides (Alternate Version)”

Oh this one came out a few weeks back, but timelines has never been my strong suit. Pearl Charles has been capturing a cross-section of ‘70s pop, folk, and country for the past few years and it feels like a new album is on the air soon, but this is a nice treat to tide ya over. While she had a standalone single that played up the country angle last year, this alternate cut from her 2018 album Sleepless Dreamer does the shift better, eschewing any sense of sleek appeal for a more hip-slung approach. The original version of the song clips along with an almost disco beat, just slipping this side of the genre into ‘70s AOR — but here “Night Tides” is recast as a late-night country come on, full of humid air, clove smoke, and dim lights. The rougher delivery fits her, and here’s hoping that wherever Charles goes next this kind of tousled delivery follows her. The new version appears alongside a few other demo and outtake cuts as Between Dreams and is out now.




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