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Woogie is of Portland, from Portland, and into Portland, but their music covers a wide swath of traditional music. Southwestern swing, Louisianan boogie-woogie, a little bossa nova – it all makes its way in there. Woogie is a big tent, and all are welcome.
Cradle Tape is the debut release from Phone Voice, the Portland-based solo project of graphic artist and educator Chitra Subrahmanyam, who sings and plays every instrument but bass on the album. Written prior to the pandemic (2017-2019), recorded at Lady’s House in Portland from September 2020 to June 2021, and produced by Matthew Langlais, the 11-track LP offers up warm, cozy bedroom rock with lo-fi intimacy and lyric emotion to spare. Subrahmanyam’s engaging songwriting makes ample use of the second person, inviting you into her mind and immersing you in her feelings of disconnection and longing. Her sense of humor shines through subtly: “I thought you said last time / would be the last time / but I guess that’s what you said / the time before,” she sings early in sprawling closer “Coke.” Meanwhile, her instrumentation moves from boldly distorted fuzz (“Stuck”) to bright acoustic strums (“Mother’s Milk”), and her singing from blurry murmurs (“D.I.D.P.”) to twee trills (“If I Were”). Cradle Tape feels like the kind of garden from which, with water and light, a career’s worth of special songs can grow.