“A lush, beautifully arranged slice of indie pop, “Dishes & Pills” is the work of an intelligent songwriter and composer with a clear vision of the music. There are elements of baroque ’60s pop such as The Zombies or the Beach Boys, but her clear musical contemporaries are ambitious, sensitive, smart songwriters such as Sufjan Stevens, John Vanderslice, and Feist.” - Bangor Daily News
"Theatrical, quirky, feels orchestral while remaining stripped-down; the Decemberists with a female singer -- a very good thing." -Mass Live
"A genuine weirdo, Ryan’s songwriting and vocal style also might remind one of more modern female artists from Bjork to Shivaree to The Softies, and the menagerie of instrumentation is more out on the lunatic fringe à la the Dresden Dolls or Daniel Johnston. It’s a truly enjoyable musical schizophrenia that you could listen to 50 times and still hear something different each time." -Valley Advocate
"The result is a sprawling epic of indie-folk ingenuity. Structurally, her tunes are pure pop. But she infuses her arrangements with a jazz sensibility, expertly decking out the tunes with all the bells and whistles — quite literally, in most cases. Her work here more closely resembles the experimental folk orchestrations of Sufjan Stevens. Like Michigan’s eclectic tunesmith, Ryan excels at crafting quirkily diverse soundscapes that augment her intricate wordplay. Also like Stevens, her real strength lies in her subtly engaging songwriting; despite the wealth of aural delicacies found on Dishes & Pills, one gets the feeling that these songs would be just as effective if stripped down to guitar and Ryan’s charmingly expressive voice." -Seven Days (Dan Bolles)
"Ryan’s inventive songwriting, which adds surreal sounds and multifarious instrumentation to a solid folk-rock core, keeps all 14 tracks sounding mostly fresh and original. The wildly diverse instrumentation peppers each song with new trinkets of spacey and intriguing sound that dangles like fish bait around the listener’s ear. Her highly personal lyrics are also absorbing. Although most of the songs have a lighthearted feel, the words are often cynical and self-deprecating, addressing topics that range from cancer to dead-end relationships to pills, marijuana and booze. Some of the songs are heavier than others, both lyrically and musically, but the imaginative spirit never wanes" -The Wire
"quite similar to Aimee Mann, she melds a pretty voice with gently eccentric instrumentation popular in the contemporary indie scene (accordion, glockenspiel), producing results both ambitious and likeable." -Portland Phoenix
DISHES & PILLS is the second full-length release from Audrey Ryan, one of New England’s most seasoned, quirky, indie pop songstresses. The album opens with her eclectic accordion rhythms and heavenly vocal trills, immediately setting her apart from most of her acoustic guitar-strumming, self-narrating contemporaries. The lyrics are equally intriguing. “If heaven loves astronauts, then why can’t we live on the moon?” she begins the first song. Enter a world where panda’s struggle to give up eating leaves, roommates never do the dishes and it seems like everyone is trying the latest prescription drug to alleviate anxiety. “What did they do in the old days when they were feeling obscure, did they drink themselves silly, did they have their own cure?” she asks. Fortunately for Audrey, her adventurous songwriting has kept her far from obscurity. The Leo Weekly writes, “(She is a) singer-songwriter/indie-pop goddess…Ryan is like Joni Mitchell and Radiohead playing some kind of hybrid indie music that just doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
Audrey has completed fifteen national tours since the debut release in 2004. She has also toured extensively in Europe, garnering enough attention that the UK label Folkwit Records will be releasing her album in the fall. She’s showcased at SXSW and had her music featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered and Marketplace. Now she’s gearing up for a fall record release tour that will extend through the US and Europe. While making the rounds at Boston’s most discerning clubs, Audrey has created her own series of shows at her loft rehearsal space in Somerville, attracting some of the best indie and neu-folk artists from across the country. It was in this candle-lit, exposed brick loft-space that Dishes & Pills was birthed, embracing the rock sensibility and production skills of prod-rock veteran Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, toured with Foo Fighters, Muse). Together they created an album using a live, lo-fi, layering approach, abounding in unique instrumentation, strong hooks and vivid lyrics. The initial analogue four-track mixes impressed Grammy Award Winner Andrew Schneider (Blue Man Group) enough to lend his hand at mixing, and finally Nick Zampiello mastered the record at New Alliance in Cambridge, MA. In the end, Dishes & Pills maintains the spontaneity and rawness of home recording with a final layer of varnish that will keep this album on top rotation on iPods and indie radio alike.
Audrey performs both solo and with a band, playing her electric Japanese guitar, a vintage Gibson (a hand-me-down of her father), a half sized accordion, and a retro 80’s era keyboard. Her band features Steve Malone on pedal steel (of Frank Smith), drummer and glockenspielist James Borchers, and clarinetist Alec Spegielman. It’s not surprising she has been dubbed the “female Beck” of the Boston indie scene. One fan said, “Audrey’s shows always keep me on my toes wondering what is next, she’ll switch from guitar, to keyboard, and then accordion in one set.” It would be easy to write off her unmatched dexterity and uncanny vocal range as a result of her time at a conservatory, but most of Ryan’s development has come from years of dedication. While she can often be seen sitting in with bands from Burlington, VT or Providence, RI, she spends most of her days refining her craft, teaching music students fiddle, guitar and piano and touring, touring, touring. She might still be an underdog in the stateside music scene, but with an average of twenty shows a month planned for the next year, fans have rightfully credited her as one of the hardest working woman in indie-rock.
- Audrey is signed to Folkwit Records (www.folkwit.com) in the UK where she tours regularly.
-NPR has played clips of “passing thru” on Marketplace, All Songs Considered to an audience of 7 million.
-The song “Espresso Bean” was voted in the top 50 rock songs of American Idol Underground.
-Two songs have been licensed for use in a Hollywood film coming out this year.
-Audrey’s debut record, “Passing thru”, is distributed in South Africa through Petraion Music.
-Songs have been featured on several compilations including Sonicbids, Meewsic, Skylark, Poptank Records.
-Audrey has shared the stage with Rusted Root, HEM, Steve Forbert, Sonya Kitchell, Ruthie Foster, Jason Anderson, The Slip, and members of Phish and Morphine.
“Singer-songwriter/indie-pop goddess…Ryan is like Joni Mitchell and Radiohead playing some kind of hybrid indie music that- and this is why her stuff is so good- just doesn’t exist anywhere else.” - Leo Weekly, Louisville, KY
“Anything but formulaic. With its liberal use of jazz progressions, quick tempo shifts, and a vast sea of musical influences, the album has myriad sounds and reflections.” -Seven Days, Burlington VT
"Ryan is an intriguing new singer. She has a literary sensibility, writing about the isolation of the computer age, overbearing friends, and the nostalgia of childhood. Most of all, the melodies glisten at their best. This is a subtly effective album. Let's hope we hear more from her..." -Steve Morse, Boston Globe
"Introspective lyrics, jazzy/retro-esque progressions, and angular riffs that craft an infectious brand of eclectic tunes. This is they type of music that could definitely cause a big stir on the college radio airwaves and earn some well-deserved attention..."- Shut Eye Records