February 2, 2016 — “Snow” by Charlie Hilton

Charlie Hilton

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Snow” by Charlie Hilton (2016, from the album Palana).

Charlie Hilton is the eponymous Portland, Oregon electro/indie/dream pop solo project of the lead singer out of Blouse. Blouse’s self-titled debut record was my eighth favorite non-Canadian record of 2011. You know, way back in the day before I started this music blog. Back when I published two year-end lists every year. For the record, there are more than a few albums from that countdown that I haven’t listened to since 2012. But that’s neither here nor there.

Blouse released a second album in 2013, and it wasn’t quite the dream pop delight that Blouse was. They experimented with a different style and used different instruments. I never even got that album. At some point, that band decided to take a break, and during the hiatus, Charlie Hilton got to work on her solo debut. I started getting notes about it late last year, but I didn’t even realize the connection to Blouse until just a few weeks ago. The album finally released on January 22 via Captured Tracks, and I like it quite a bit.

Hilton paired up with Mac DeMarco on “100 Million”, which is also from the solo debut, and it’s a great song, but it’s not why we’re here tonight.

On tonight’s song, and on a couple of others, there’s some saxophone. Truth told, I’m not a fan of saxophone, even when you’re talking about Colin Stetson. Somehow, though, it really works here. This is that song.

“Snow” by Charlie Hilton

There’s something really intoxicating about the rhythm. There’s something about the keys and heavy drum beat that reminds me of Bowery Electric. Hilton’s quiet vocals soar over the dimly lit wide-open space. And that weird saxophone in the darkened corners. More like free-form noodling than playing. All of it pieces together really nicely, and I’ve listened to this album a bunch of times. I think it’ll end up in the top half of my year-end list.

You can buy Palana as a download via Bandcamp here, or you can buy it in LP/CD/cassette format here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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