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SXSW Wednesday Record Reviews

Shapeshifter (Hardly Art)

Reviewed by Libby Webster, March 17, 2017, Music

Boston-turned-New York trio Ian Sweet's first LP with Hardly Art yields a discordant, raw intensity, 10 tracks of twee baring sharp teeth. Shapeshifter's dissonant, surprising sound is whittled from a foundation of off-kilter lo-fi, carved by Jilian Medford's sharp, detail-oriented anxieties and obsessions, her squeaky voice often verging on breaking and not far off Joanna Newsom's peculiar timbre. "All Skaters Go to Heaven" features an uneasy guitar line like running up and down creaking stairs, while "2soft2chew" employs a dreamy Brooklyn jangle. The title track proves appropriately named, an amorphous expansion-contraction of Medford's unintelligible sighing and distorted, spacey guitar. (Wed. 15, Cheer Up Charlies, 10pm; Thu. 16, Tap Room at the Market, 1am; Fri. 17, Sidewinder Outside, 8:35pm)


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