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Background

Abigail Grush is a Chicagoland-born, currently Portland-based (and former Seattleite) multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter whose first album, The Phantom Beat was released in 1999 by Barsuk Records. Relocated to Portland and has since been working on new material.

Influences

On her website, Grush lists influences such as The Kinks, Talking Heads, Captain Beefheart, Laurie Anderson and Frank Zappa. These influences are evident on the on the musical front - on a more detached level, influences such as Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking Glass and Saturday morning cartoons also present themselves. There are moments where her music is slightly similar to elephant 6-style bands such as Of Montreal and Neutral Milk Hotel, especially on songs such as If It Wasn't You.

Music

Though no one would describe Grush's music as radio friendly, this doesn't mean the songs are 15 minute avant garde doodles - most songs are carefully written and tightly played, and their structure is usually thought out and purposeful.

Almost no instrument is off limits - glockenspiel, French horn, acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, violin, mandolin, and others add to the sound soup that makes up Grush's music, with enough variety from track to track to keep things interesting and enough consistency to make it sound coherent.

Vocals

Grush's talent isn't confined just to instruments - her vocals stand out as one of the strongest elements of her music. Her voice is rich and elastic, soaring high in The Boy Next Door and providing hair-raising double-tracked harmonies in Uncertainty. Her voice is full of vibrant character - a mix of tongue-in-cheek and sexy romanticism - and often there are moments where her singing is inexplicably exhilarating.

In Closing

Two quotes from reviews that sum up Abigail Grush's music well:

"Cabaret music from the seedier bohemian neighborhoods of the Lunar Colony. Grush and her spectral Beat tangle with a menagerie of instruments, from plain-old guitars to fiddles to bodhran drums to jawharps. Off-balance sexiness wrestles avant garde leanings for control of the mix. The battle never ends, but it makes a compelling show."
-NXNW Music festival 1999

"Abby... can stretch her voice in ways that, if transposed to the corporeal, would mean she's an ambidextrous six-armed Hindu acrobat... I'll put it this way: she can sing circles around anything you could throw at her. Not that I'm encouraging anyone to throw anything at her...."
Jay Chilcote, the Echo

Sources

  • Abigail Grush (http://www.abigailgrush.com)
  • Barsuk Records (http://www.barsuk.com)
  • Epitonic (http://www.epitonic.com)

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