The Weather Station Tuning In
Published Jun 04, 2015Tamara Lindeman — a one-time teen actor in various made-for-TV films who continues to act on the side — didn't always know she wanted to be a musician. Lindeman discovered her calling through her first love, who passed away unexpectedly in 2004. "Tapes," from her new album Loyalty, is a haunting tribute to him.
"He wanted to be a musician," she says. "When we got together he found out I could sing and said, 'you have to sing' and we wrote songs together. And then when he died… it put my life on a different path. For some reason I had this obsession that I was going to make music."
The soft-spoken Toronto songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Bruce Peninsula member has been using the Weather Station moniker for her solo output since 2008's East EP. She now has two albums under her belt, including 2011's lovely sophomore effort, All of It Was Mine (out on You've Changed), which was produced by Daniel Romano.
For Loyalty, Lindeman's outstanding third record, the Weather Station has signed to Outside Music in Canada and Paradise of Bachelors in the U.S., leading to more widespread recognition — the day she spoke to Exclaim!, the new album was streaming in its entirety on the New York Times.
Lindeman recorded Loyalty at La Frette-sur-Seine in France with Afie Jurvanen (aka Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz, who also engineered Feist's The Reminder there. Lindeman and Jurvanen had stopped in at La Frette to record a song for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack during a Bahamas tour, on which Lindeman was singing backup for Bahamas, and the owner of the studio/mansion invited them to come back to record an album. Jurvanen didn't need the time, so he said to Lindeman, "Why don't you make a record and I'll play with you and Robbie will produce it?"
Lindeman and Jurvanen played nearly all the instruments on Loyalty, laying down drums and guitar before adding bass, keys and backup vocals (woodwinds and strings were added later, in Canada). "That was the heart of the record," says Lindeman of the initial live duo performances. "The drums and guitar or just two guitars."
Lyrically, Loyalty is a driving album that explores human relationships — between friends, lovers and family members — as well as one's relationship to one's work and art. "Why is loyalty so powerful?" Lindeman asks. "Even when you really shouldn't be loyal to that person or thing or idea?"
Lindeman calls the kite the perfect metaphor for the album: in motion, but tethered: "I've been free, but I've known not freedom" she sings on "At Full Height." Meanwhile, she slips the most mysterious metaphor into the brooding title track: "There's a loneliness," she almost sighs. "I don't lose sight of it. Like a high distant satellite, one side in shadow, one in light."
"A lot of these songs are joyful," she says of the new record. "But they're also really sad."