The week Haley Bonar released her new LP Golder was a fairly bleak music-release week. I had rather despaired of finding anything new that week when I happened upon her name way down at the bottom of the iTunes new releases list. (It's true, there's really no magic about where or how I find new music. Just lifting up a few rocks, scrolling down a few lists and happening upon some pots of gold ... and every now and again a pot of coal.) Her name seemed fairly promising and her music has followed suit.
Described as alternative/country, her style is difficult to classify. It's got electric guitars and drums, tambourines and wuzzley sounds (I made that word up), some acoustic guitars and a pleasant voice which sounds like an amalgam of a lot of female singers - the most striking being her resemblance to Patty Griffin in the rocking "Raggedy Man." Reading her bio, she's approachable and down-to-earth, living her own story and making music by her own rules, as encouraged by her artistically-friendly upbringing.
You can tell a lot about a person by the music they make most of the time, and Bonar's is unique, friendly, light-hearted and free-spirited, but appropriately structured.
When I first sat down on my porch and gave this album a listen through, every song seemed to bring a bigger and bigger smile to my face, not in the same way as say Freelance Whales, but in the way that it was exactly what I had needed to hear after a frustrating day at "the office." The album elicited an audible laugh when I reached the bubbly penultimate track "Bad For You." With the whole female singer-songwriter thing she has going on, despite her genre-denying style, I was expecting "Bad For You" to be a poignant reflection on a past failed relationship. Instead it's a tongue-in-cheek look at the way you can't live with this world, and you can't live without it. I played it for my roommate, but she didn't love it the same way I did. Bonar's not guaranteed to be everyone's cup of tea, but she's worth a listen.