v  e  d  a     h  i  l  l  e   ||   s  p  i  n  e

On the tails of her first U.S. release, Canadian songmaker Veda Hille is on tour in the States, giving American audiences a show of "Spine." Though her name may be new here, she's established a solid Canadian audience with four previous releases, and now joins the list of impressive Candian female performers to glide into the States.

But don't look for Hille (pronounced "hilly") in the slot reserved for mainstream women's music. Veda Hille is something new— remarkably different. Spine, a collection of 12 songs released through Bottom Line this past summer, offers a surprisingly refreshing variety of lyrics, sound and arrangement. An unusual assortment of instruments— saw, rubber bands and balsa wood, marbles and cup— added to Hille's instruments of choice: tenor guitar and Steinway piano, all blend to create a unique quality of music.

Sometimes rocking, sometimes shocking, her lyrics drag the listener from the lair of love— "to smile beyond dignity  to be kissed and salted  by a love extreme" (26 Years)— to be dropped into the fish tank of reality— "what once were trains  now metal and death  cars move slow  slow like blood" (Strange, Sad).

The sum total of Hille's creative talent is bound to leave American audiences looking for more, and "more" is currently in the works. Veda's recording her next collection in collaboration with electronica wizard, Christof Mignoe, and according to Mike McGonigal of Swing, "their collaboration ought to knock fans of Björk, PJ Harvey, and Portishead on their keisters."

Hille, excited about the project, says, "I want to contrast a really simple guitar and banjo sound with a lot of that computerized, synthesized thing." While an art student, Hille worked in assemblage, the art of putting together found things. "That's a lot of the way I write music," she explains. "A nailing together of disparate elements."

And "nailed it together" she has. Rarely does an artist offer such a diverse and unique assortment of style and sound put together so well. Hille concert goers are in for a night of pure entertainment, with the promise of more to come.

Of the collection of twelve songs on Spine, its hard to pick out favorites. Slumber Queen, Bellyfish, and 26 Years are currently getting airplay in the States, but you won't want to miss Strange, Sad, Instructions (a spoken list of 18 directives) or Shamus and Stone, either. In fact, there's not much on this assemblage that you won't want to hear again and again.

Concert Dates:

December 4th at Nikis in Olympia, WA
December 7th at Coco Club in San Francisco
December 10th at the Nim in Santa Barbara
December 11th at Gabah in Los Angeles
December 12th at Java Joes in San Diego
December 14th at Ediburgh Castle in San Francisco
December 16th at Roseland Annex in Portland

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