whitney ballen – “rainier”

– featured image courtesy of sofia lee – 

on the off-chance that whitney ballen’s previous single, “go,” left any unanswered questions about her singularity, the washington songwriter’s follow-up solidifies her status as one of the most distinctive voices to emerge this year.  “rainier,” keeping with ballen’s theme of writing an extended ode to the pacific northwest, aches with nostalgia, a transmission of longing delivered in her unmistakeable soprano.

like its predecessor, “rainier” flourishes in the build-up to and execution of its refrain; ballen’s dead-simple admission of “i wish you were here” loops as a mantra, frankly framing the antecedent anecdotes and staging the track’s soaring, melismatic concession of “i’m sorry.”  a bucolic soundscape crests as ballen stretches out that apology, receding during verses and providing mournful slide guitar swoons before sprawling out into a vast, contemplative horn-driven bridge.  these tinges of americana align with those of melancholy, echoing the wistful vestiges of familiarity and permanence in an ever-changing life.

“rainier” is the second single off of you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship, which will enjoy a joint release via father/daughter records and substitute scene on august 24th.  listen in below.

whitney ballen – “go”

– featured image courtesy of sofia lee – 

whitney ballen’s debut full-length album serves as an ode to the pacific northwest; after recording two extended plays steeped in the region’s geographic imagery, the washington-based songwriter struck out for elsewhere, only to find herself waxing nostalgic about the familiar.

“go,” the lead single culled from you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship, latches onto the sentiments of the larger body of work, its titular verb used again and again as a defiant command.  ballen’s lead vocal begins hushed and appears stilted, only to blossom into a soaring, crystalline sustain as the chorus arrives, its lush rolled chords sprawling out in the track’s expansive soundscape.  as “go” gallops towards its finish line, dueling guitar motifs in tow, one begins to realize that ballen’s debut might be one of the summer’s most-needed cathartic releases.

you’re a shooting star, i’m a sinking ship arrives august 24th as a collaborative effort between father/daughter records and substitute scene.  listen to “go,” below.