Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cabinet of Natural Curiosities - Searchlight Needles - Reviews

More strong reviews of Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' "Searchlight Needles" record rolling in. Many thanks to the writers and editorial staff at Impose Magazine, Wears The Trousers (twice!), Homemade Lo-Fi Psych (twice!), Olive Music, Tome To The Weather Machine, The Dotted Line, and I Heart Noise. Also in the category of good news, "Searchlight Needles" is now available for order online at, one of our favorite and most reliable online distributors of excellent music. Cabinet will be playing a slew of shows in New England this fall, specifically, in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. Montreal and New Hampshire are in the works, as well as an upcoming 7" record and a show at Goodbye Blue Monday with Morgan Orion, Drew and The Medicinal Pen, and Parade Parade (Josh Fu from Lonesome Architects solo.)

1. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on Impose Magazine:

"Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is the brainchild of songwriter and visual artist Jasmine Dreame Wagner. The Cabinet is also full of other artists contributing the flesh to her sparse, wistful, psychedelia-tinged Americana. A Brooklynite, Wagner’s Searchlight Needles dropped in June on For Arbors. The record is a long-playing lullaby that detours into night tremor noise interludes. It recently inspired an exceptional afternoon nap, not because it’s boring, but because it’s soothing and sparse, with those more chaotic tremors less like dream catchers, more like nightmare bear traps." (READ MORE)

2. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on Wears The Trousers (1):

"Jasmine Dreame Wagner is a pretty awesome name, combining natural, illusory and classical associations, so it’s perhaps a given that a person who inherits such a unique handle would go on to create the totally immersive art of the kind that Cabinet Of Natural Curiosities indulges in. Released on June 9th through For Arbors Records, Searchlight Needles is Jasmine’s first official full-length album (her fifth release overall) under this Albertus Seba referencing epithet, and is rather more song-based than some of her previous releases. The field recordings are very much still a part of the equation, as ‘Grass’ demonstrates with wind chimes, the distant rumble of a train, and a constant backdrop of bird calls and chirrups." (READ MORE)

3. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on Wears The Trousers (2):

"While most tracks on the album are subtle explorations of a complex psyche, making excellent use of field recordings and Wagner’s soft, double-tracked vocals, it’s the emotionally simpler songs that invoke a real feeling of contentment. Album highlight ‘Cities’, for example, is a calm and poetic ode to nature: “Come and run in the grass with me / until the grasslands are gold with the lights of the ones they hold,” Wagner coos sedately, accompanied only by guitar and distant keyboards – just enough to keep the momentum going. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon on the sofa." (READ MORE)

4. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on Homemade Lo-Fi Psych:

"Gentle, intimate folk songs played on acoustic guitar with added ambient, sometimes electronic, sounds; at times quite disturbing, often there's something menacing underneath the peaceful atmosphere - excellent music! Reminds me slightly of late 60ies UK Folk Jazz band THE PENTANGLE in places (e.g. vocals on 'Black Water')" (READ MORE HERE for "Searchlight Needles") and (HERE for "Vineland")

5. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on Olive Music:

"Describing Cabinet of Natural Curiosities' new album Searchlight Needles is just as difficult as fighting a huge grizzly bear. NO--make that two grizzly bears! That's why it's taken me five days to write this. It's a confusing listen, very confusing. There's just so much going on that I really didn't expect to hear. Like Hella's (or Zach Hill's) Church Gone Wild; there are so many things you can hear all coming towards you, like a stampede... OF GRIZZLY BEARS! But in this case, Searchlight Needles does have a lot going on, don't get me wrong, but everything is very subtle...This is probably one of the most focused albums of the year, and I just might mention this in December. It's totally worth listening to and I bet it'll hypnotize you and make you sell every single Iron & Wine LP that you own." (READ MORE)

6. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on Tome To The Weather Machine:

"I know you are probably sick of reading what else I was doing when I hear an album for the first time. But it was eerily uncanny how fitting this passage by D. H Lawrence was when I sat down for my first listen of Searchlight Needles. Searchlight Needles by Brooklynite by the way of Missoula, MT chanteuse Jasmine Dreame Wagner a.k.a Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. Searchlight Needles is a quietly epic ode to the great expanse of nature. It says a lot about an album that can physically move you to another location, with CONC, such auditory hallucinations take me to the woods, the ferns, and a windswept hillside in the middle of the night." (READ MORE)

7. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on The Dotted Line:

"I’m always impressed when artists are able to transform their instruments from necessary compliments to actual voices themselves. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities does this remarkably well; they bring the guitar, as well as a determined glockenspiel, and ever present synth, into the limelight. Instead of chords to mark vocal progression, the instruments themselves have their own melodies, their own harmonies, their own solos. Not that Jasmine Dreame Wagner needs overshadowing; the vocals are dark and delectable and her voice seems to teeter on a distinctly sharp edge, yet remarkably self assured. Fantastic." (READ MORE)

8. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on I Heart Noise:

"Whenever you get a CD that’s look like a work of art in itself, there’s always a fear that the contents will not match the artwork. Thankfully, this is not the case with Cabinet of Natural Curiosities “Searchlight Needles” CD... “Searchlight Needles” initially appears to be a fairly simplistic record, but the simplicity proves to be deceptive. Gradually it unfolds into a sonic gallery of ambient textures, female vocals (both treated and untreated) and spacey atmospherics. Reminds me of Marissa Nadler’s work, minus the morbid angle of lyrics, but the songs are still haunting, plus they’re fairly short and on point. Song titles (“Sun”, “Cities”, “Moon”) and lyrics are like delicate snapshots of various landscapes with images of satellites, smokestacks, factories and piers floating by." (READ MORE)