Jenn Lindsay | Uphill Both Ways

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Folk: Modern Folk Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Uphill Both Ways

by Jenn Lindsay

Music for the brave, uncouth, and hopeful
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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1. Uphill Both Ways
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4:38 $0.99
2. Brain
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3:15 $0.99
3. Belong Alone
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4. In Brooklyn
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5. Intro Memphis
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6. Memphis
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7. I Knew You
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8. Postolka
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9. It Came 2 Me
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10. House in New Orleans
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11. Christmas Song, Part 2
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12. In Ca
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13. Outro
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14. Outro.2
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15. Kitchen Sink
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"One of the Best Folk CDs of all time" -- Derek Sivers, CD Baby

"Deliciously earnest...battle hymns for the downtrodden" -- Entertainment Today

"Jenn Lindsay has her finger right on the pulse of the whole wide world of working people everywhere" -- Smother

"acoustic guitar injected with punk ethics and politically charged songwriting" -- San Diego Union-Tribune

UPHILL BOTH WAYS is the sixth studio album to come from this NYC based songwriter...after a two-year hiatus from recording in NYC, Jenn Lindsay returns to the biz with a broken heart, road stories, and the best album yet.

Jenn Lindsay plays music for the jobless, the brave, and the indignant. She was named by GO NYC Magazine as “an artist carrying the torch for music into the 21st Century,” alongside powerhouse band Sleater-Kinney. She has a degree in playwriting from Stanford University and recently dropped out of the Yale School of Drama. Her music is “a powerful call-to-arms for struggling urban artists everywhere” (Suite 101) and she’s “a talent to be reckoned with” (Splendid). Her music is featured on MTV and on compilation albums put out by the ACLU and SBS Records.

Jenn Lindsay’s sixth and seventh studio albums, Uphill Both Ways and Perfect Handful, were both financed entirely by her fans. Uphill Both Ways is a declaration of independence, a love letter, a primal scream, and a homecoming announcement (back to music and back to NYC). It’s a pageant of change, growing up, grief, and the little things that get us out of bed in the morning. Jenn Lindsay works indie all the way, recording out of a tiny apartment in Manhattan where the drum kit rests on a bedspread, the microphone pop filter is a sock stretched over a coat hanger, and percussion sounds include apples and a pen dragged over the wire of a spiral notebook. To keep costs down on her albums Uphill Both Ways and Perfect Handful, Jenn Lindsay learned to play as many instruments as she could: the guitar, piano, banjo, baritone ukulele, mandolin, drums, keyboard, xylophone and harmonica. The most difficult (no joke) was the tambourine.

Jenn’s last album, The Last New York Horn, was released by Waterbug Records in Chicago. She’s the most popular singer/songwriter you’ve never heard of, with rabid followings in Indianapolis, Amarillo TX, and Santa Cruz. “Something good has to come out of the current economic downturn, right? Well, here’s one: anti-folk singer-songwriter Jenn Lindsay.” (Village Voice)

A 2003 Boston Globe editor's pick, Jenn started gigging at age 19 while in the acting program at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, playing in British pubs where patrons ate fish sandwiches. She graduated to New York City, where initially, patrons stared into their beers, but after three years voted her the “best female singer-songwriter in NYC” (Radio Crystal Blue). Since Jenn started touring nationally, she has played her songs in exchange for free catfish in Alabama, sang to a room full of friendly cowgirls in Amarillo Texas, entertained in Vegas, and played encores to Ladyfest attendees in Memphis, Brooklyn, Santa Cruz and Ottawa. In addition to appearing at universities and coffee shops, Jenn has played LadyFests, BMI Showcases, the New York Songwriter’s Circle, political rallies at Rockefeller Center, and lots of screwball dives around the country.

In NYC, Jenn's musical community is the Antifolk scene, a hub of musicians based in the East Village's Sidewalk Cafe, who share a mutual distaste for mediocre, well-packaged mainstream music. Lindsay promotes her albums by opening for national acts Melissa Ferrick, Chris Barron (The Spin Doctors), Erin McKeown, Toshi Reagon, Girlyman, Bitch and Animal and Alix Olson at venues in the Northeast and in Canada. Her music, "delicate and tough...stark urban imagery" (San Diego Union-Tribune), showcases "a talent well-versed in the field of social protest music” (Stanford Daily).

Smother.com remarks, “Jenn Lindsay has her finger right on the pulse of the whole wide world of working people everywhere.” That’s probably due to the string of frustrating day jobs and subway-platform performances that supported her when she was not actively gigging. Even though Rambles Magazine believes that “If some of her songs were given the exposure that they deserve, New York would be one receptionist short but the folk world would be one star richer,” the impoverished struggle of being a solo artist in NYC sent Jenn out onto the road, booking her own shows, leading college workshops, and forming traveling collectives with other emerging artists.
There’s hope yet for Jenn to break through the throng. That’s because, according to Suite101.com, "She’s a DIY Renegade. Folks like Jenn Lindsay provide reason to listen to every indie disc that comes in the mail."

--Sue Maguire, Uphill Publicity, January 2006
uphill@bust.com


Reviews


to write a review

RocknWorld -- Ashleigh Hill

Punk Folk Infusion...kudos for the singer/songwriter's creativity and originalit
If it is at all possible for pop, punk, and folk to gather together in LP form, Jenn Lindsay has done it. Uphill Both Ways is by no means a groundbreaking performance, but kudos for the singer/songwriter's creativity and originality. The record's highs start and end the album. "Uphill Both Ways" proves catchy with its hand-clapping background and stuttered vocals begging for a repeat. The slow and steady "Kitchen Sink", an 8 plus minute song, continues on and on, adding to the biting love story. Sadness grows into anger, and Lindsey tells the whole story, and then some, just like irritated girls are supposed to. Here, Uphill Both Ways offers up its very own quintessential bar sing-along.

smother.net


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Jenn Lindsay’s two past folk-pop gems in “Fired!” and “The Last New York Horn” and she’s got me again with her latest artistic achievement. Her lyrics bravely tackle social issues but never stumble into preacher mode. Her sixth overall album finds her returning to playing music after she dropped out of grad school and returned to New York City to play music. Single-handedly she has the cuts to lift the whole New York anti-folk scene out of mire of dingy back alley hipster bars and into the limelight where it belongs. -- J-sin

Muses Muse - Chip Withrow

textured and wonderfully crafted
I admire Jenn Lindsay’s ambition as much as her music. Uphill Both Ways requires repeated listens to truly appreciate the multiple instruments, hypnotic vocals, and inventive song structures. Even the stuff I didn’t get at first seemed textured and wonderfully crafted by the third, seventh or 16th time I heard it.

Uphill Both Ways reminds me of this bootleg I have of the Beach Boys in the studio after Brian Wilson entered his orchestral phase. Jenn’s songs are acoustic at their core, then layered with instruments and harmony vocals. Jenn's voice itself is intriguing and versatile - it can be storytelling, lilting, and/or commanding.

The first two songs – the title track and “Brain” – are spunky almost-power pop. “Brain” in particular is a killer, urgent and percussive with a dramatic string-synth ending. One of my few problems with the disc is there’s only one truly up-tempo number after the first two. But it’s “Memphis” – strange and cool, with guitars that twang and ring in harmonics and Jenn’s wistful vocals – and it’s both rockabilly and pretty.

Some of the tracks are haunting – “In Brooklyn,” “Postolka,” and “Belong Alone.” At first, I didn’t dig the backing vocals on “Being Alone,” but it became one of my favorites – the lower-register vocals made sense in the context of Jenn’s plaintive singing, like voices lost and looking for but just missing each other.

“Postolka” is daring and breathtaking – I don’t know what that accordion-sounding instrument is in the background (an accordion, maybe?), but it’s a riveting anchor against which waves of percussion and vocals crash.

Even the songs that don’t grab me as much are charming: “I Knew You” is a bit too clever lyrically, but the acoustic guitar runs are nifty. “It Came 2 Me” seems kind of Alanis Morrissette-ish, but it has a catchy, off-kilter bounce.

I like the guitar picking and spooky singing in the ode to Hurricane Katrina victims “House in New Orleans.” But it’s a little too earnest, and the idea of setting a Katrina tale to “House of the Rising Sun” has already been done so brilliantly by the Blind Boys of Alabama.

But the next tune makes up for it. “Christmas Song” is indeed a strikingly original holiday song – simply guitar and washes of percussion, and a clever juxtaposition with the classic “Let It Snow” melody.

It was while listening to the final four cuts – everything from “New Orleans” to "Kitchen Sink" (Jenn saves her best lyrics for last) – that I realized the aforementioned Brian Wilson connection. They seem almost like they belong on a different CD, as if they were overheard, recorded by someone in another room. It would have been cool to mix in some of these among the denser numbers.

I started writing this review with the idea that Jenn Lindsay was a gutsy performer who sometimes overreached. I finish this review, after dozens of listens to Uphill Both Ways, as a true believer, and I encourage her to keep it up.

Americana UK - Paul Kerr

Quirky, powerful album from New York based “anti folk” activist.
Sixth album from Lindsay is an assured return to the musical fray after a year out as a student. Playing most of the instruments (bar drums and bass and occasional keyboards) she has achieved a mature and musically accomplished set with a full sound that is radio friendly at times despite the DIY ethic behind the recording. While she hits out at targets such as the debacle surrounding the flooding of New Orleans much of the lyrical content seems to be more personal but with no self-pitying “ look at me” miserablism. In fact the album as a whole is upbeat with excellent harmonies and memorable tunes. “Brain, ” a break up song thrashes along with driving guitars to the fore. Better still is the next song, “Belong/Alone “ with opaque lyrics (adapted from poet Christian Wiman) and engaging harmony vocals. On occasion (“In Brooklyn” and closing epic “Kitchen sink”) the lyrical approach is similar to that of Loudon Wainwright’s, at times the vocal arrangements are reminiscent of the Roches, but Lindsay can also take a simple guitar/voice arrangement as on “I Knew You” add some great lyrics, “You are such a tough guy now, The doors are closed to me, Years locked in a lockbox, And you swallowed the key” and captivate the listener. Some of the arrangements on this album are sublime, “Postolka” (another arrangement of a poem by Wiman) has layered vocals suggestive of David Crosby’s solo work. Vocally strong, at times vulnerable, at others, strident, Lindsay has achieved an excellent piece of work which deserves to be heard.

Acoustic Music -- Frank Gutch Jr.

It feels good to me. Really, really good.
There was something vaguely familiar in Jenn Lindsay's music when I first heard Uphill Both Ways and it took me a few listens to nail it down. It turns out Jenn Lindsay plays (wait for it!) New Wave! I tossed genres around to see how they fit and none seemed to corner exactly what it was until the late 70s popped up and that was it! Jenn Lindsay, my alternative pop-ites, plays music for which Ken Barnes and the late Greg Shaw of "Who Put the Bomp" lived—60s influenced pop with creative flare. Lindsay displays just the kind of creativity and flare that could well have garnered her a cover of the rejuvenated "Bomp" zine, the project Shaw was working on when he so unfortunately left us. Her music fits all of his criteria—melody, hooks and drive.

Indeed, Shaw would have taken this CD on himself, not trusting anyone else to point out the positives: the Percy Sledge-like organ of "Belong Alone" giving way to the perfect three-chord chorus behind the bopping rhythm; the punchy acoustic rhythm of Brain which echoes the production of some of the best the 60s and 70s had; the fast, upbeat rhythms of the acoustic guitar and Lindsay's intriguing song stutter of Uphill Both Ways, not to mention the intriguing harmony vocals. What would have really done it, though, would have been the magnificent pop opus, It Came 2 Me, which mixes elaborate production with voice sans production until the end, a strange but captivating combination—and who could resist her inclusion of two lines from Lennon and McCartney's Got To Get You Into My Life as she crescendos "I was alone, I took a ride/I didn't know what I would find there". This CD is worth it for that alone.

She isn't all power pop, of course. She folds House of the Rising Sun and Amazing Grace into a strange folk song lamenting the tragedy of recent New Orleans (and the Bush Administration's bungled response) which she titled House In New Orleans. Christmas Song, Part 2" has a folky Hem sound and shows that she can feel as well as dance. If that doesn't satisfy your folk craving, she goes overboard in the monumental eight minute-plus Kitchen Sink in which she laments love gone bad with only acoustic guitar, occasional added voices and a classic sense of humor. And there is the eery "Postolka", minor chords and weird chord progressions and all.

Sonics freaks might pick this apart of they heard it, but I contend that the production is spot on. You can't pull off something this creative in a sterile environment, just as you couldn't in the 60s and mid- to late-70s. It is the feel of the music as much as the music itself which gives this CD its edge. It feels good to me. Really, really good.

Until I heard this, Maggi, Pierce and E.J. headed my list of groups to see. Now I have fantasies of a double bill. I don't even care who opens for who.

New York Press

Lilting greatness
Insensitive folkie gal starts out as what Chrissie Hynde should’ve become with the lilting greatness of Uphill Both Ways.

The Celebrity Cafe

poetical flair...southern fried little ditties
- More alternative folk music is made by slick record types hoping to cash in on the fact that there are just as many people with ready cash living between the coasts as on them. Maybe I’m a sucker for pretty voices, but I have to give Jean Lindsey a little more credit than the Rascal Flatts boys. For one, her lyrics have a poetical flair that makes this album of crooning about romantic troubles and the trials of living in our wired, even-the-toaster-has-a-USB-port century a little more personal and authentic than Flatts’ assembly-line polished release. Plus, Lindsey doesn’t shy away from actual references, such as popular television shows, which is refreshing when so many other artists like to imagine they’re in a bubble or were born to another time.

As the track wear on, it seems more and more of the folk elements dissipate and are overtaken entirely by the alternative rock elements. As surprising as it sounds, I was actually sad to see the country rhythms and instruments get so quickly replaced by the static beats and powerful, prose-like lyrics. However, some of the tracks bring back some of the magic, albeit none are as clever acoustically as the album’s title song. There’s still enough here for the pop or alternative listener, and even the passive folkster will find everything worth a listen, as a few of the tunes belt out enough southern fried little ditties to be considered an amiable parody, or at least urbane street folk of the style you might here in a subway station in NYC. That’s a long way from Memphis, but who cares about geography anyway?

Reviewer: Alexander Rogers

Music Edge -- Kiki Alexander

http://www.themusicedge.com/moxie/news/reviews/jenn-lindsay.shtml
Ok so when I’m home alone I always end up doing laundry and singing. Between searching for socks and splashing detergent into the washer I’ll go off about random things, thoughts in my head, frustrations, the color of my brother’s boxers, you know, things like that. It’s strangely therapeutic, like venting to myself with a rhythm, and kind of what Jenn Lindsay’s sixth album sounds like. Only better, a lot better, because there is a reason why I only sing when I’m alone not to mention that Lindsay’s soft, melodic folk tunes call for a greater audience than the hum of a loaded dryer tossing clothing back and forth.

But you know what? She does sing about “fancy underwear.”

Don’t be afraid, she’s no Phoebe Buffay.

The New Yorker broke out her debut Bring It On five years ago and has been blossoming musically since then with recognition in obscure places as well as MTV.

But where is it that Jenn Lindsay really belongs? In the studio I think, in the studio on her guitar, her tambourine, piano, or any of the other seven instruments she plays, singing about everything from the entirely random to the wholly applicable. Surely she’ll be pinned to all kinds of genres. Folk-rock, indie, singer/songwriter and yep, she does fit into every single one of those, maybe a couple more, but above all, Jenn Lindsay, she’s a poet.

Her observations on Uphill Both Ways span from sucky love (pretty much the majority of these songs) to the almost unmentionable events of last years hurricane Katrina on “House In New Orleans” a song that could have become something insensitive or overly intense but is instead a deft reflection of the gaps in humanity.

“Brain” which takes the popular 90’s anti-drug slogan “This is your brain” and turns it into a hook! (Remember the commercial where the girl crushes a raw egg with a frying pan and states: “This is your brain on drugs”?)

What I love about Uphill Both Ways though, is this girl’s laugh-out-loud-lyrics, full of irony and confessions. Whatever she’s singing and slowly strumming to, Lindsay does so with this childish innocence, bare-boned honesty, the kind of humility in those going-to-school-naked-dreams with humor to spare.

Take the last track “Kitchen Sink” for example. Eight and a half minutes of little-girl-growing-up.

“And I gave you great sex and some pretty awesome presents
And some gorgeous songs and kick-ass letters
And all my love and all my patience
And all I’ve got left is that awful t-shirt.”

This is no hokey, sitting ‘round the campfire collection of songs though, lest we forget that Lindsay is a multi-instrumentalist, who uses her talents in all aspects, reincarnating folk into her own, empowered chick music, without being all up in your face about it.
Or singing about smelly cats.

By Kiki Alexander

Indie Music.com -- Tiffany Razzano

an amazing album by an amazing songwriter
Uphill Both Ways, the sixth album of New York City-based songwriter Jenn Lindsay, is truly amazing. Her sweet but strong vocals and her acoustic folk-pop (as well as her lyrics) are reminiscent of early Rilo Kiley mixed with melodic pop of the 60s and 70s.

Lindsay starts off with the title track, an interesting mix of indie-folk and Americana. It’s followed by the upbeat "Brain." This indie-rock tune with driving guitars is a break-up song that puts a twist on the anti-drug slogan of the 90s. “This is your brain on drugs ... this is your brain on breaking up.”

"Belong Alone" is where the Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley sound really kicks in. This is a sweet, alt-country tune that mixes in a bit of indie-pop. The vocals sound like something right out of Lewis’ mouth. This is followed by "In Brooklyn," a song about life on the not-so-romantic life on the Bohemian fringe in the borough where she lives. On "Memphis," Lindsay does honky-tonk her way, with biting lyrics and sweet vocals.

Lindsay takes a political bent on her cover of "House in New Orleans." Her spare vocals and finger picking on the guitar have a good effect, as do her lyric changes. She writes new lyrics that refer to Hurricane Katrina, singing about the “chief on the golf course at the ranch” and the “evacuation of the whites.”

"Christmas Song, Part 2" and "In CA" talk about her moving out west to take time to herself and get away from problems. The former's music and lyrics are based on "Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow." She sings to her ex about a palm tree Christmas and how she, when their relationship ended, “let it go, let it go, let it go.” On "In CA," she sings to her ex, “without you I’m lost here” and implores this person to “fly out there and kiss [her.]”

She ends the album with the long, but worth it, "Kitchen Sink." It must have been cathartic for Lindsay to write. The song clocks in at over eight minutes long and bares everything about a relationship that had died. She sings, “I gave you everything but the kitchen sink, now I’m giving you what I really think.” As the song goes on, you hear the subtle anger in her voice building up as she gets more and more frustrated. It’s a great song both lyrically and musically.

This is simply an amazing album by an amazing songwriter.

Ruby K

awesome
Jenn Lindsay is awesome. I've been listening to her for over four years, and she's a fantastic listen. Go, listen, be amazed.
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