Azita + AXIS:SOVA at the Hideout | Concert preview
A double record release party celebrates art songs and intangible sounds.
Anyone who’s caught Azita Youssefi solo has seen her ability to bring a hush over an audience, no small feat in a crowded bar. That asset isn’t lost on the idiosyncratic local songwriter, whose gift for unsparing melancholy and unconventional melody has blossomed over the last decade as she’s shaken off eccentric tics remaining from her art school refugee days (etched into this city’s punk history in bands like the Scissor Girls).
The music underpinning the singer-pianist’s latest, Year, was written around a theater piece of the same name, but for the album Youssefi enlisted a band and fleshed out artful arrangements that range from solemn (“It’s Understanding”) to stately (“Forgetting”), with some unexpected moments in between (the affable reggae pulse behind “Something That Happened”). It brings some relief after the quiet despair coursing through last year’s solitary Disturbing the Air, and while this is less personal than that devastating set, Youssefi’s autumnal chord choices and the tactile quality of her voice continue to center her songs.
A more oblique approach comes from AXIS:SOVA, the solo psych trip of former Mass Shivers frontman Brett Sova, whose vocals aren’t the only thing that sound submerged on the new Weight of a Color. Intangible sounds and textures ripple throughout cosmic lullabies like “Subtle Beer Bong Chicks” and “Raising Hell,” filled with flickering patches of guitar and echoing leads. Yet for all the unfettered shredding there’s a rigorous structure in place—Sova’s kaleidoscopic meditations may be more amorphous than Youssefi’s but are no less meticulous.