Jesy Fortino, under the Tiny Vipers moniker, has been responsible for some of my favourite music in recent times. In fact, her second album – 2009′s Life on Earth – was not only my favourite release of the year, but it also was the first time I’ve ever been able to name one without any hestitation or endless self-debate. Thus, I was quite pleased to learn there were a few tracks I haven’t heard yet available to purchase via Bandcamp.
If you’re a Tiny Vipers fan in the league of wanting to have a copy of any and every song Jesy has been vaguely associated with, you won’t need any encouragement from me to go grab them post-haste as the tracks available you’ll be unlikely to find elsewhere, and you’ll certainly not be disappointed if you do so. There are three singles to purchase individually, as well as a two track EP containing parts 1 and 2 of of a song titled Blades of Grass, which is a home recorded ambient piece that was sent out on CDr to those who pre-ordered Life on Earth via Sub Pop. It’s easy enough to let the songs speak for themselves, so I’ll do just that. Here’s three of the five available tracks:
Another Day’s Sun features Colin Roper on backing vocals (a name I’ve not heard before, but a bit of swift research consisting of google and little else suggests he may be the same Colin who is ex-Cobra High and Loving Thunder. This is conjecture based purely on the fact that both bands were based in Seattle, as is Jesy).
Fell In A Well, according to the Bandcamp page, was originally recorded for Hands Across the Void but didn’t make the cut. The track does, however, feature on her first, self-titled release, which was pre-Hands… Whether or not they are the same version I can’t say, as that remains the only CD I’m yet to purchase. Places That No Longer Exist is a demo from Life On Earth, home recorded on 4-track, and again didn’t make the final cut for the album.
Fell In A Well would have been quite at home on Hands Across the Void, though I can see why it was left off – it is rather more like a b-side. It’s fairly clear the other two are still in demo form. Places That No Longer Exist is much quieter than the other two so I recommend the use of headphones to listen to that one. They are, however, unmistakebly Tiny Vipers’ tracks, very much in the realm of the Life on Earth (i.e. delicate, ethereal melodies and sparse guitar picking accompanied by that hypnotic voice, with the occasional chant and jangle). I’ve particularly favourited Another Day’s Sun, and hope to hear a fully realised version of that on album #3.
I have to defer comment on the Blades of Grass EP for the time being, as I haven’t purchased it yet. It is streamable, but with my current data usage limits I’m not keen on essentially using the same amount of bandwidth to listen and not actually have a copy afterwards. I can tell you that the two tracks run a total of around 40 minutes (which, coupled with the Sub Pop description of ‘ambient’, leads me to suspect they might be much in the same vein as the experimental music found on Empire Prism).
I’d say the release of these new/old tracks is aimed directly at existing fans – a little taster while we eagerly await the next studio album, plus the opportunity for those that missed out to get a copy of Blades of Grass. In that sense, they should tide you over quite nicely.
For the casual listener or simply curious, it’s a little less likely you’ll get further than a quick listen, so I think it would be mutually beneficial if I also directed your attention elsewhere – such as the wonderful Daytrotter session, a free download (albeit after a little registration and download manager rigamarole) of three songs from Life on Earth performed late last year – four when you take into account the first is a medley. A very good introduction to Tiny Vipers. I also highly recommend New Dawn Fades, a cover of the Joy Division song by The Sight Below, to which Jesy lent her vocal talents and manages to do that rare thing where it’s both true to the original and given a unique spin. Check it out in the video below, or just head straight to RCRD LBL and download it for free.