Band of the Day

2014.12.04

Debbie Neigher

Luminous singing and expressive keyboard work from a San Franciscan songstress
You taste like lavender honey, it stirs my hummingbird heart.
lyrics from Lavender Honey

An artist with a gift for earnest lyricism, Debbie Neigher is one of San Francisco’s most promising singer-songwriters. On Unravel, her sophomore album produced by John Vanderslice (Spoon, The Mountain Goats), Neigher explores her battles with vulnerability through luminous singing, expressive keyboard work, and startling arrangements.

Unravel navigates her journey toward self-acceptance through insightful, dream-like ballads, as well as triumphant, danceable pop anthems, vividly expressing her joys and sorrows in a way that is disarming and inspiring in equal measures. The music on Unravel moves in delightfully unexpected directions, incorporating her years of classical piano training with an indie pop and jazz approach.

Neigher’s eponymous 2011 debut began garnering attention with its striking melodies, lush piano, and jazz-infused vocals, earning her two television placements on the Lifetime Network’s “Dance Moms,” as well as features in The San Francisco Chronicle and AOL Spinner. On Unravel, the music is more expansive, making use of synthesizers and electronic effects, producing cinematic soundscapes that immediately pull you in.

“I’ve always loved the acoustic piano,” Neigher says, “but experimenting with less traditional song structures and electronic effects and sounds opened up my imagination. Unravel is about vulnerability. How we go about avoiding it; embracing it and turning it into strength and power; the vulnerabilities of femininity and how that can be interpreted; falling in love with someone you know you cannot be with; the precarious situation of the young people I worked with on the fringes of the American economic system; simply wanting to sit bare-boned with someone you love and the struggle to be your entire, naked self.”

Unravel was recorded in eleven days of intense analog sessions to capture the dynamic and exposed energy of Neigher’s live, full-band shows. In addition to Vanderslice, she enlisted the help of her San Francisco friends Minna Choi, the arranger/conductor for the Magik*Magik Orchestra (Death Cab for Cutie), who provided the string and horn accompaniments; engineer Ian Pellicci (Deerhoof, The Dodos, Rogue Wave); drummer Jason Slota (Thao with the Get Down Stay Down); and Jesse Cafiero on bass and lap steel guitar (Thao, Split Screens).

Neigher has received features in American Songwriter Magazine, Daytrotter, The Huffington Post, Paste Magazine, and has shared the stage with Mary Lambert, John Vanderslice, and Luz Elena Mendoza (Y La Bamba). Paste Magazine raves, “There are moments of poetic beauty so front-and-center on Debbie Neigher’s sophomore album, Unravel, you’d be remiss not to struggle to swallow a bit after hearing them."