At a concert in 2017, you can usually be sure that at least 10 people will have their phone out capturing the moment. But this time, during The Weather Station’s show at Rough Trade on November 28th, it’s only me, on assignment. I wanted to make sure I captured Tamara Lindeman’s message.
The Weather Station has a mission for us in 2018: Get Loud.
“Things don’t feel quiet,” Tamara Lindeman, the songwriter, singer, and guitarist of The Weather Station shared. “It felt necessary to write loud things.”
So far, those loud things have been successful. At the time of this article, The Weather Station’s eponymous album has landed on dozens of lists for the Best Albums of 2017. It is, by all means, a powerful shift from the early tones of her work.
And for me, it is worth noting that shift. The earlier, softer, The Weather Station has provided a soundtrack for many personal moments. “Floodplain” has enveloped me alongside the sun while traveling in Italy. I shared my headphones with my mom on the train to Lucca to hear “Way It Is, Way It Could Be.” The song “What Am I Going To Do (With Everything I Know)” has put my weary head to sleep on many a night. That said, I feel like I am also solely responsible for the nearly 950,000 plays of “Thirty” on Spotify, its rustic guitar chords and stunning lyrics thrusting me into a busy city morning. These are what I carry with me into this show, and in some ways I know Lindeman carries them too. We are always shifting back forth, from quiet to loud and back again, acknowledging the dualism at play.
On WNYC’s Soundcheck the day of the show, John Schaefer called Lindeman a “humble observer.” Her attention to life and her ability to capture detail makes Tamara Lindeman a songwriting force. Lindeman manages to capture the world like a polaroid in music form.
Now that force, and that Polaroid, is matched with an electric guitar.
Guests at The Weather Station’s most recent show at Rough Trade were treated to songs “on both sides of the coin,” as Lindeman put it. They rocked back and forth between acoustic echoes and the louder electric guitar.
Lindeman is most in control when she plays her acoustic Martin; the echoes and tones cut not to the bone a la Julien Baker, but seem to provider lighter moments of revelation. There’s a sense of ease, not bite when the fingerpicking touch rises to meet her vocals. But the bite does come, and it is matched now, with an electric guitar, a rolling rock album that should be a soundtrack for your loudest endeavors.
The album, in all its glory, achieves a multitude of revelations about our humanity. We are complex, multifaceted beings with more than one side. We don’t necessarily have to play loud to be loud. We may not have time anymore to be humble quiet observers, but rather “loud” observers.
In “Power,” Tamara sings “I spent my whole life thinking that I was some kind of coward.” I couldn’t disagree more.
As the chords of 30 echo in my head again, I end 2017 with a mission from Lindeman, a loud yet humble observer: To get loud.
Have a loud 2018, everyone!