Melding the vibrant, effervescent tones of the kalimba (an African thumb-piano, literally translated as “little music”) with her earnest and intimate voice, Laura Barrett has crafted a stunning debut EP – Earth Sciences – garnering both national radio airplay and critical acclaim. “Deception Island Optimists Club,” a single from this EP, was a finalist for SOCAN ECHO songwriting prize, a prize known for identifying upcoming talent in independent music in Canada.
Also known for playing and touring internationally as a member of The Hidden Cameras, Laura composes songs that run from the childlike to the funereal. She is known for engaging her audiences with oftentimes sci-fi lyrics that tease out unconventional themes like taxonomy or techno-babble. After beginning her career with a single cover performed at a playful Weird Al tribute night (also included on the EP), she has since found the time to contribute music to apocalyptic stage plays (“The Rat King”), nerd-core documentaries (“Freeware Rebellion”), and experimental multimedia extravaganzas (Worldwide Short Film Festival).
In the last few years, Laura Barrett’s solo work has garnered overwhelming support not only from local Toronto media, but also a growing underground fan base in Ontario and across Canada. Exclaim! Magazine has called her an ‘Artist to Watch in ‘08’, saying “Easily entrancing her audience with every siren call and ‘plink’ of the kalimba, nothing on Earth sounds like this.” CBC Radio 3’s Grant Lawrence raved about Barrett after a performance at Pop Montreal in 2007: “The most intriguing live performance I have seen in years, in the same ranks as Final Fantasy and Chad VanGaalen. I couldn’t shut up about it”.
Barrett’s live shows have evolved to incorporate bass pedals, glockenspiel, and piano, balancing the liquid nuances of her earlier songs with newer pieces that display carnivalesque or classical tendencies. In addition to double-bassist Richard Carnegie, with whom she recorded a CBC Brave New Waves session, Laura has enlisted the help of a diverse group of Toronto musicians to connect with the idiosyncrasies of the kalimba. She plans to continue these efforts in an upcoming full-length album to be issued by Paper Bag Records later in 2008.
Earth Sciences is out February 26, 2008
- Robot Ponies
- Stop Giving Your Children Stand
- A Deception Island Optimists Club
- Senior & the Blob
- Smells Like Nirvana
- Stop Giving Your Children (remix)
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