Sea of Bees

Wednesday

SXSW Records

Sea of Bees

Songs for the Ravens (Crossbill)

Nom de musique of Julie Ann Baenziger, her Sea of Bees diffuses California pop by turns dreamy and atmospheric – folky – and perhaps even a bit precious. But Songs for the Ravens is never boring. As a young girl, Baenziger (Bee) fell in love with an older girl with a lovely voice at church, which folded her deeply into the shelter of music. "Skinnybone" is sweetly melancholic while also exploring the tensions between a girl's simple adoration and a woman's honeyed sensuality: "Like a little girl inside/I want to hug you day and night." "Marmalade" haunts with a darkly thrumming rhythm, and in "Strikefoot," Bee's vocals sound Appalachian, though all affectation dissipates when she insists "please" again and again and again. It's heartbreakingly intimate. "Sidepain" should entice Neko Case, the rolling alt.country rhythm anchoring Bee's sweet harmonies with herself. (Wed., 11:30pm, Central Presbyterian Church)

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