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House of Snow (2011)
Laurel’s most recent album, House of Snow, encapsulates the themes of sustainability and reverence for the outdoors in a beautiful collection of songs, produced and arranged by Douglas Jenkins, the creative director of the Portland Cello Project.
Featuring some of Portland’s finest musicians including Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists and Sam Cooper of Horse Feathers, “House of Snow is an indie-folk gem, drawing on the folk rock sounds that have all but dominated indie music in the Northwest for the past few years. Brauns’ folk sensibilities shine through an orchestral tapestry as brightly as her trademark streak of blonde hair,” said Mike Bookey of The Source Weekly.
Chris Dahlen of Pitchfork.com and Paste Magazine chimes in, “Laurel Brauns writes some of my favorite songs, and the way she sings them makes me shiver. Her new disc is lovely, strong, and haunted, and likely her best yet.”
Closed for the Season (2007)
Featuring twelve literate folk songs about sailors, mannequins, drunks, unborn babies and filmmakers. This record has been a year and a half in the making. The majority of it was recorded in an old carpenter's shack in Newmarket, NH under the direction of internationally acclaimed songwriter Jon Nolan. Chris Dahlen of Pitchforkmedia.com and Paste Magazine writes, "Laurel Brauns can do the siren singer-songwriter thing, casting her sterling voice into songs about wide skies and maze-like hearts. She brings to bear all of her Celtic and indie influences on her haunting new album where cellos and dark finger-picked acoustic guitar all but surround you with the ghosts of the by-gone characters the songs speak of."
review by Gillian Laurel Brauns vocals on Periphery bleed into the edges of sensation, nostalgia and sentiment, stirring in the listener hope and memory. How to define Periphery? When I walked into the local record store that was playing the CD. I was immediately interested in the artist. Periphery has a base foundation of neo-folk definition with a little bit of soothing 70s sound mixed in. The album relies most heavily upon Laurel Brauns' beautiful vocals. She has a very accomplished voice that can chamelion itself into a thousand different and equally pleasing variations. The second strength to this album is the sometimes understated but always strong, acoustic guitar and violin. The violin especially adds a dramatic and appreciated flare. To me, Periphery, is comparable to a feminine version of a Ryan Adams' album. Laurel Brauns voice sounds akin to a blend of Natalie Merchant, Ani DiFranco and Jewel. I would say that Periphery would most appeal to a younger set, since the lyrics are a little early twenties-centric. Anyone would enjoy her voice though. Since I bought Periphery it hasn't been out of my CD player and since she plays locally I'm planning on seeing her live. I would recommend her to anyone and everyone.
So very beautiful. A Review by Daniel O'Meara I have owned Laurel's second album, Periphery, for a while now and absolutely love it, so I was saddened to see this album listed as out of print on her website. Thankfully, I noticed that it was indeed still available on CDBaby and ordered it immediately. This album is simply put, fantastic. There is a celtic feel to much of Swimming and Laurel is so well suited for it. In particular, my favorite song, Child of Light, uses the Celtic style to produce an incredible tapestry of beautiful sounds. She is also incredible when playing more standard songs, like her gorgeous cover os "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love With You." Laurel has a unique talent for writing great songs and then filling them up with exquisite, lush orchestration. It is very interesting to hear Laurel finding her voice on this album. Periphery has a very distinct sound and on Swimming, you can hear it starting to materialize. I happened upon Laurel in a local newspaper, found her samples here on CDBaby, and have fallen in love with her music. I play her songs for everyone I know now and can't wait for more masterpieces in the future.