Snowbird is a dream pop duo from London who formed a couple of years ago. There’s a very good reason that they sound an awful lot like Cocteau Twins. Or at least like the late-era Cocteaus. One half of Snowbird is former Cocteaus bassist Simon Raymonde. The other half is Wisconsin-born singer Stephanie Dosen.
Dosen was born on a peacock farm in Milwaukee. As a little girl, she took piano lessons, and when she found a guitar in the family’s attic, she taught herself to play it. As the story goes, she started writing her own folk songs and would perform them for an audience of a fox and a swan. Who knows if there’s any truth to that strange story. She self-released an album called Ghosts, Mice & Vagabonds in 2002. When those songs hit the internet, she was discovered by Simon Raymonde, who signed her to his Bella Union Records label. In 2007, she put out A Lily For The Spectre via Bella Union.
After her Bella Union record, she got really busy. She toured as a vocalist for Massive Attack. She toured in support of Midlake, then contributed vocals on their album The Courage of Others. She appeared on a Chemical Brothers record. Raymonde started collaborating with her a couple of years ago. This album —moon— has reportedly been in the works for quite some time, and it hasn’t been easy.
Dosen had been living in London, but when her visa expired, she ended up on this side of the Atlantic. She recorded all of the vocal stuff for the album in North Carolina, while Raymonde did the studio wizardry in London.
The album, which has an expected release date of February 4, features contributions from a pretty impressive list of guests: Philip Selway and Ed O’Brien from Radiohead, McKenzie Smith and Eric Pulido from Midlake, Paul Gregory from Lanterns on the Lake.
Two songs have been made public, and the album is streaming over at Pitchfork. It sounds amazing. The album will be sold as a double disc. The second disc —luna— will be remixes done by RxGibbs.
“All Wishes Are Ghosts” by Snowbird
The first bit of the song reminds me a lot of the Cocteaus’ “Rilkean Heart”. Not the album version, but the shorter, piano version that was on the Twinlights EP.
It’s really, really impossible not to think of Liz Fraser here. Dosen’s voice is just about as angelic, and the way she goes “wooooooooo-oooooo” is identical to the way that Fraser used to do that kind of thing.
Pre-order the album from Amazon here.