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Bedouine – Bird Songs of a Killjoy

There was something very assuring about discovering Bedouine, the project of singer/songwriter Azniz Korkejian. First, because there’s something inherently calming about the familiar, but nonetheless striking way she sings and plays guitar. Secondly, because after seeing videos online of her performing, despite being a relative up-and-comer, she looked to be about my age. Granted, I can’t actually find her age anywhere, but I did find an interview where she refers to her 20s as a thing of the past. Which isn’t that important, I’m just getting a little burned out on 20-year-old indie phenoms playing bedroom pop. Apparently, Korkejian spent much her early adulthood working as a sound engineer while music was nothing but a hobby, which explains why these songs are so casual but also so effortlessly pretty.

It’s not super surprising to learn that Korkejian is friends with Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra, since they both seem to be subverting the general white-ness of American folk music. Korkejian was born in Syria and grew up in Saudi Arabia and then Massachusetts, while her songs feel very much in the vein of your classic California acoustic singer-songwriter fare. You’d think there would be something inherently political about folk music coming from an immigrant in these times, and though there supposedly was some of that on her first album (which I haven’t listened to yet), the songs here are more in a personal vein.

Mostly the songs are about love and heartbreak, while a song like “Echo Park” speaks to her current surroundings in Los Angeles. I talked in my review of Weyes Blood’s new album about my slight reluctance in embracing a new crop of L.A.-based singer/songwriters embracing the genre’s early ’70s golden era. But perhaps that reluctance is gone. You know an artist is good at invoking a sound from another era when it sounds completely like it could’ve been written back then, since it’s not hard to imagine James Taylor or Joni Mitchell or even Nick Drake writing a song like “Bird Gone Wild”. A lot of the songs have this same spare production, which will often sweep you along in some pillowy strings. It’s soothing music for sure, but in a world so endlessly chaotic, it’s just the kind of early morning album that can lull you into a better day.

Favorite Tracks: “When You’re Gone”, “Bird Gone Wild”, “Hummingbird”