Jessica Bailiff
Live on VPRO Radio

Cover Image

April 16, 2005

US 7" Brainwashed Recordings BRAIN006

  1. Shadow - [MP3]
  2. Beautiful Soul" - [MP3]
  3. Mary - [MP3]
  4. Come and Close My Eyes - [MP3]

Jessica Bailiff - acoustic guitar and vocals
Nathan Admunson - bass on A1, A2, B1 + vocals on A2 and B1
Michael Anderson - textures on A1, melodica on A2, treated guitar on B1

Produced by Berry Kramer and Maurice Woestenburg for VPRO Radio "De Avonden," November 2002.
With additional help by Jesse Edwards, 2004.
Limited to 500 light green 7" singles.
Pre-orders come with a CD-R of the music + all the other 7" singles released on Brainwashed thusfar.

Four songs from Jessica including "Shadow," only released on the Brain in the Wire compilation (I'm beginning to think this really is my song or something!), the haunting "Mary" from her self-titled third release on Kranky, "Beautiful Soul," which dates back to her 1998 debut on Kranky, Even in Silence, and an exclusive song, "Come and Close My Eyes," a Flying Saucer Attack cover. All recordings are obviously exclusive. Jessica arrived at Kranky by way of Low, having her first two albums produced by Alan Sparhawk at 20 Below in Minneapolis. She has gone on to record more solo singles and albums and has appeared on record with bands Rivulets, Saturday Looks Good to Me, Flashpapr, and Red Morning Chorus, and makes up part of the core nucleus of bands Clear Horizon, Northern Song Dynasty, and Eau Claire. for more images and sounds from her.

By far the most accessible of the Brainwashed singles, Jessica Bailiff contributes 4 live songs, taken from a session on VPRO Radio in 2002. Treated guitar, undisclosed "textures" (drones), melodica and bass accompany Jessica's acoustic guitar and vocals on these tracks recorded while on tour supporting her self titled third album for Kranky. In this setting, Jessica has less protection from the ability to build atmosphere in the studio, which strips the songs bare and exposed, which works well. "Beautiful Soul" (originally released on her first album) is anchored by a drone built from bass and melodica, allowing the guitar and vocals to soar high above the mix. "Mary" shows Jessica embracing the post-shoegaze folkstress that she is. The single ends with a cover of Flying Saucer Attack's "Come and Close My Eyes." It's a notable homage to her current bandmate's former band (she and Dave Pierce released a collaborative album under the name Clear Horizon). While the cover is enjoyable to hear, I think trying to improve on an FSA recording is a doomed prospect. - Dick Baldwin, FakeJazz

The human physical presence of Kranky recording artist Ms. Bailiff is present in the acoustic guitar and her forlorn folk-ish vocals but despite the obvious pop structure the unfledged lo-fi sound (the songs come through a light fog of grainy atmosphere) gives this release a distant removed feel. They used to call music like this Dreampop, but Jessica isn't obsessed with her shoes or the floor on these four live tracks, she lost in the songs. The final track, oddly enough a Flying Saucer Attack cover, "Come and Close My Eyes" sounds the most personal and human piece here. - Scott McKeating, Stylus

Jessica Bailiff is represented by four tracks on "Live on VPRO, Amsterdam" (Brainwashed 7"). Her vocals and acoustic guitar blend with haunted atmospherics, sounding especially lonely and lovely on her cover of Flying Saucer Attack's "Come and Close My Eyes". - Byron Coley, The Wire

Bailiff's songs are pop but sound almost folky due to her soft voice and the languid lo-fi sounds. She is a veteran on the Kranky roster by way of Low (her first two albums were produced by Alan Sparhawk at 20 below in Minneapolis) and she is also a member of Clear Horizon, Northern Song, Dynasty and Eau Clair. The tracks on this release, recorded live in VPRO studios in Amsterdam, are hushed and slightly grainy. First track "Shadow" stands out as a melancholic plea, introducing her soft and dewy vocals. "Beautiful Soul" (a song from her 1998 debut) follows and is much more akin to Low's style than the previous track. Side B begins with the haunting "Mary" (from Bailiff's third release on Kranky). The song features ample acoustic accompaniment to a sweet yet ominous vocal melody. Bailiff finishes the set with a cover of Flying Saucer Attack's "Come and Close My Eyes." All of these songs are wonderfully textured with subtleties (melodica, treated guitar, etc). This is the warm heart of this three single set--dreamy, lovelorn and humble. - Andrew Iliadis, Only Angels Have Wings

Para el ultimo deje el excelente paso por mis oidos de la misteriosa Jessica Bailiff. Con una guitarra acustica y sonido envolvente tino el dia de un cielo soleado a un gris palido y profundamente melancolico. Los bueno de estas canciones es que son lo suficiente hundidas o profundas como para dejar escuchar al interior (uups.. parezco Luisa Delfino), pero no lo demasiado densas como para cagarte la tarde. El ambiente que propone Jessica es solitario pero no denso, sentido pero no asfixiante y eso se nota en el minimalismo de las cuerdas acusticas rasgadas con cierta pesadez. Me recuerda cierto aire a Espers, en el sentido profano de la comparacion, aunque en el caso de Jessica, parece un alma que va pelandose capa por capa mostrando de a poco su luz interior. Es extrano el caso de "Shadow" que a pesar de ser una melodia lenta debil superficialmente, se percibe una extraordinaria fuerza e impetu: lo que parecia un hilo de agua cayendo desde 3 metros, es una avalancha capaz de pechar un hipopotamo vaguisimo con la fuerza de Conan el barbaro. Concluyendo, si tendria que unir todos estos trabajos de algun modo que no sea pensar en su distribucion por la brainwashed, pensaria en su optimismo pleno. Es decir, a pesar de ser levemente oscuros o un tanto violentos, tienen una energia positiva ( sigo pareciendo a Luisa Delfino), un lento pero alentador fluir de movimientos que acompana de forma ritmica a mi bienestar. La vida esta hecha sin dudas para disfrutar. - Pavlo Picco, deVelvet

Bailiff, always the gentlest and most breezy-sounding of artists in the Kranky label stable, offers up four live radio recordings in a trio that provides minimal yet effective backing. The simplicity an acoustic nature of her songs lend themselves to the branding of folk music, but there's too much pop structure here for the tag to truly stick. Bailiff's songs are just as warm and welcoming as they were in the years since I last heard her. Includes a Flying Saucer Attack cover. - Doug Mosurak, Dusted

Recorded live for VPRO Radio in The Netherlands, Jessica Bailiff's 'coke bottle,' transparent vinyl disc includes three originals and a cover of Flying Saucer Attack's "Come and Close My Eyes." Enhanced by Michael Anderson's blurry textures and Nathan Amundson's bass, Bailiff's entranced whispers and acoustic strums distinguish "Shadow." The gentle "Beautiful Soul" originally appeared on her 1998 Kranky debut Even in Silence while "Mary," from her 2002 self-titled album, is rendered haunting by the background haze of Anderson's treated guitar. In a lovely rendition, she imbues "Come and Close My Eyes" with delicate intimacy. - Ron Schepper, Textura

The lovely voice of Jessica Baliiff underpinned by some equally lovely understated strummed guitars. Melancholy and heartfelt music and singing - I always think of her as a very grown up singer song writer - someone who has matured to a point where the frills and possibly cliched bits are lond gone, and you are left with a essense of depth and emotion. You might have gathered that I really like this. Recommended. - Smallfish

Recorded just shortly after the release of her last, self-titled album, this 7" is a rare document of Jessica Bailiff's sound away from the studio. Included are two songs available on her full-length recordings, a cover of "Come and Close My Eyes" by Flying Saucer Attack, and a version of "Shadow," which was previously available only on Disc A of the Brain in the Wire compilation. While her live sound is more bare compared to what she does inside the studio, Bailiff's siren-like voice and hypnotic guitar playing is enchanting, sounding as though it's coming through the ether from some far away, and sometimes sad, place. What this 7" release most exceptionally highlights is Bailiff's song-writing ability. She writes elegantly and fluidly, pacing her music perfectly, allowing her voice to melt into her rhythmic guitar melodies with ease. Her style is completely her own, but not without sympathetic and inviting tones. She can make me believe that she's in the room with me, whispering to me and relating stories pulled from all over the world. There's never an element out of place in her music and each one of these four recordings proves that she's one of the finest writers and performers around. - Lucas Schleicher