The Needle Drop

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Orenda Fink - "This is a Part of Something Greater"

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A few months ago, Orenda Fink--who is also known for being a vital force of Azure Ray, O+S, Art In Manila, and a few other side projects--released what is potentially her finest work yet with her album Blue Dream. After a couple impressionistic, abstract videos for the first two singles, Fink has produced one for the track "This is a Part of Something Greater," and it's a doozy. Impeccably timed for Halloween, the clip finds Fink reenacting various classic horror movie staples - from Videodrome, Psycho, Poltergeist, Blue Velvet, to name a few--to an almost startlingly precise degree. One highlight includes an eerily placid rendition of the bathroom scene from The Shining. The clip fits the slightly menacing tone of the song well, adding a creepy new layer to the refrain, "You know that my love will never die," with Fink playing both the victims and the villains.

Blue Dream is out now on Saddle Creek.

Orenda Fink - "Holy Holy"

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"Holy Holy," Orenda Fink's third song to drop from her forthcoming record Blue Dream, opens with a very classic-sounding guitar progression. Then you realize the almost spiderweb quality it has--spindly, dewy, and delicate. Fink's vocals come in shortly and it's all just pretty, blissful, and mournful. Fink wrote the song while grappling with the struggle of how we can love someone so deeply if the relationship ends in death. "Where does the love go?" she asks. The album was written after the death of her beloved dog. It all sounds very dour, but in this track (and the two others she's dropped) there is also a sense of hopefulness, of yearning. Fink is looking for answers.

The song progresses quite nicely, with a beautiful chorus replete with a luminous harmony (which has always been one of Fink's strong suits). In the first verse Fink sings, "We come into this world all alone/And we leave with not much more," but by the chorus she seems to exalt her deceased love into the clouds above. A shimmering chime sounds out for emphasis, and then a keyboard gently glows, like the embers of a sinking fire. Fink has always been an astounding talent - her group Azure Ray's debut remains one of my all-time favorite records - and her forthcoming record is bound to be one of aching loss, but also of a tender beauty, the kind that comes from having hope in times of darkness.

Blue Dream is out August 19 via Saddle Creek.

Orenda Fink - "You Can Be Loved"

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Stream: Orenda Fink - "You Can Be Loved" Omaha-based songwriter Orenda Fink, one half of Azure Ray, is getting ready to release her third full-length solo album. She already showed us first single "Ace of Cups", and now a new one has arrived: "You Can Be Loved," a dreamy, soft piece of pop. With slightly twangy, stringy guitars, and Fink's perfectly understated voice (which she also uses to harmonize nicely with herself), the song establishes itself to be very much in the same vein as "Ace of Cups," while also deepening the sound and showing a different shade of what is one of my most anticipated records of the year.

Blue Dream is out August 18, via Saddle Creek.

Orenda Fink - "Ace of Cups"

New TracksjeremyComment

Azure Ray holds a special place in my heart, so with each year that passes without a new LP from them (they remained brazenly silent in the many years between their last two full-lengths) I feel the pangs of yearning. But the ladies, Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink, have kept busy with other solo and group projects. Taylor's solo music nestled itself into a pretty but saccharine place, Fink's has always been more daring. Her first LP was ridden with spiritual Haitian influences, and her second delved into some ramshackle country-folk. Her songs with Azure Ray have always been the more adventurous as well, and so it has always been her I have gravitated towards more.

Which is why I am so exuberantly excited about her forthcoming third solo LP, Blue Dream. Inspired by the death of her beloved dog, the album is said to tackle themes of spirituality and mortality. First single "Ace of Cups," while a bit cryptic, definitely gets the ball rolling. A steady beat, throbbing keyboards, and close harmonies are all over this thing, while Fink sings sad truths about mourning such as "Hope is a bitter hand at the bottom of the ocean / And salvation is like speaking to a wall." The song coalesces into a nice lurch, including a surprise electric guitar near the end. This may not utilize her considerable chops as well as some of her other tunes, but it certainly has me eager to hear more.

Blue Dream is out August 19, via Saddle Creek.