This site too slow? Try a mirror  --  Subscribe to the Guide  --  Find artist:
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

Kathleen Yearwood


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Beautiful, fierce experimental contemporary folk with occasional traditional songs and a Celtic flavour in her early work and later an industrial flavour.

Status:

Most recent release, Hunt The Circle (2014)

See also:

Wikipedia's Kathleen Yearwood page

Kathleen Yearwood's Bandcamp page

Kathleen Yearwood's MySpace page

A Dog Logic review in The War Against Silence

Comparisons:

Hard to say who she's like because she's so very like herself. Imagine if Diamanda Galas mixed traditional and contemporary folk and experimental music and had a slightly more conventional soprano but still used it the same way.
     Both emotionally and aurally demanding—but absolutely worth it. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Mostly own—occasional versions of traditional songs and Dog Logic is mostly covers

General comments:

Kathleen Yearwood has a powerful voice and writes songs that equal that power. Always forthright, occasionally didactic, in her later lyrics she is one of the best lyricists I've ever run across—poetic and pointed, impressionist and concrete, both. She mixes industrial noise with traditional songs, sound clips of cows and breaking glass with her stunningly beautiful songs. Not for the faint of heart. (Neile)

She gets big points for originality and complexity—but loses some for sound quality and vocal talents for her first cd release, Book of Hate. Isn't Kathleen Yearwood great? To me, she is the epitome of "alternative folk". She makes people like Ani Difranco seem so mainstream. (jjhanson@att.net)

It's avant-garde folk, really...she's extremely avant and experimental, and I'm SO down with that. And noisy and brilliant...oh Lordy...pissed-off brilliant Canadian girls rule. (John.Drummond)

Comments about live performance:

Kathleen Yearwood is just as much of a powerhouse live as she is on disc, and that's saying a lot. Her vocals are amazing. Don't miss her if she plays anywhere near you. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Book of Hate is the first I heard and is still my favourite.

Recordings:


dead branches make a noise

Release info:

1990—Voice of the Turtle—003/Subterranean (cassette only)

Availability:

Contact Voice of the Turtle (address below)

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for those looking for something strong and demanding

Group members:

Kathleen Yearwood—guitars, chanter, voices

Guest artists:

Ken Hare—percussion
Ross Campbell—sax and violin

Produced by:

Bryan Becker, Cameron Noyes and K Yearwood

Comments:

What an amazing collection of songs, both musically and in the power of their delivery and message. Yes, the political songs are didactic, and if I read the lyrics alone I would be annoyed by their hectoring tone—but the delivery is so stunning when I listen I'm not annoyed but fascinated. The music makes them transcendent. Wow. These are some of the most haunting, compelling tunes I have ever heard.
     It's not easy listening—much of it is harsh, but still beautiful. Listening to it is an experience. You might hate it, you might love it, but it's unlikely to leave you cold.
     For anyone who has found Kathleen Yearwood's work interesting previously—this is a must have. Anyone who is interested in a what it might be like if Diamanda Galas sang traditional folk and political folk songs with higher, operatic-almost vocals with dynamic guitar work and strange background accompaniment, well, you have GOT to hear this. It's harrowing listening hour. Gut wrenching, like all of Kathleen Yearwood's work. (Neile)

Book of Hate

Release info:

1994—Voice of the Turtle/Subterranean Records—SUB 73-2

Availability:

Contact Voice of the Turtle (address below)

Ecto priority:

Very high for those looking for something strong and demanding

Group members:

Kathleen Yearwood—vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, hard, crucified guitar, typewriter, garbage, panes of glass, clapping, field recordings

Guest artists:

Reg Elder—bass, bowed bass, vocals, electric guitar
Daren Rufiange—drums and percussion
Tim Ashworth—violoncello
Jeff Burke—bassoon and pennywhistle
Ross Campbell—violins
Dawn Hage—trumpet
Kay McCalister—French horn
Ken Read—trombone
Bedlam Gospel Tabernacle Choir w/ Rev. Hyacinth Hemlock—vocals, clapping, meditations on the book of Job

Produced by:

Dave Mockford and Kathleen Yearwood

Comments:

This is so brilliant it pains me. She's angry, but her songs still have beauty. There's hate on this disc, and yet there's a sense of redemption, too, and she's angry at the right things. Also an unusual sense of maturity. One of those discs that messes with my emotions every time I hear it.
     This is what happened when I first listened to it—this was the first of her music I'd run across. First song: Hmm. Slightly operatic but tough voice singing a traditional folk song. Ok. I think I like it. Second song: Hmm. Another trad. folk song, fairly quiet. No, wait a minute then there's an operatic line and then crunchy, crunchy guitar at the very end. Third song: WHAT IS SHE DOING? She's trilling and the only accompaniment is clapping on a haunting, insistent song about a Native friend in trouble with the law who dies. Then I was lost in it.
     The disc varies between things that sound like traditional folk, things that sound like contemporary folk, and things that sound like the more experimental noisy stuff out there, frequently mixed in one song. Parts sound like Diamanda Galas. The accompaniment is always interesting and varied (breaking windows? cows? barking dogs? birds?). Impressive and powerful and insistent and definitely haunting. "Lost My Way" is a song that has obsessed me since I first heard it. Definitely for those who love the harsher, more experimental side of things. Highly, highly recommended. (Neile)

my reaction essentially mirrored neile's: first, "hmmm, this is nice." second, "wow, that was neat." third, "yikes, what is she *doing*?!?" This is a nifty one, folks. look for it. (woj@smoe.org)

This album should be the definition for "alternative folk". Makes Ani DiFranco sound like Top 40 bubble-gum pop). (jjhanson@att.net)

JESUS CHRIST it's amazing. Loreena McKennitt's neurosis-ridden guitar shrill twin... I just got done with the third track and um it's amazing. I'm BLOWN AWAY. somethin' tells me Kathleen's on her way into my pantheon. JESUS CHRIST YES... Book of Hate is the most arresting first-listen of any album I can think of in the past year, probably... the only thing that comes close as far as the initial impact of viscera is Veda Hille's You do not live in this world alone, which just ripped me to pieces the first time I listened to it. (John.Drummond)


Little Misery Birds

Release info:

1997—Voice of the Turtle/Subterranean Records

Availability:

Contact Voice of the Turtle (address below)

Ecto priority:

Very high for those looking for something strong and demanding

Comments:

Following where Book of Hate left off, this collection demands attention from the listener as it takes her from haunting melodies to more experimental soundscapes. It is her most experimental and least melodic thus far—farther out and farther from folk than most of her music—but it still draws me in. It's powerful and beautiful and desperate and engaging at the same time. It's a must for anyone who likes music from the edge of experience. Note that the cd version is shorter than the tape by two songs. (Neile)

Dog Logic

Release info:

2000—Voice of the Turtle

Availability:

Contact Voice of the Turtle (address below)

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kathleen Yearwood—vocals, guitars, violins, bass, noises, bird recordings, frog recordings, dog recordings, celeste, harpsichord, pip organs

Guest artists:

Kyp Harness—vocals
Bob Tildesley—trumpet
Craig Brenan—trombone
Rachel Melas—ambience, bass, baritone guitar
Alberta College Scola Cantorum Girls' Choir—vocals
The Anhedonia Singers—vocals
Overflowing Lava Dog
Sickasadog singers
Andrew Robins—field recordings

Comments:

Some personal observations about the album: The work is a mixture of poems written by Steven Ruhl, Kyp Harness, Steven J. Bernstein, Kathleen Yearwood and others. Kathleen uses a wide range of vocal techniques to say the least. Several cuts, such as "Wake Me Up (When We Get There)" and "Somebodies Looking For Their Voice" reminded me of how beautiful Kathleen's voice can be. It's surprisingly pop sounding. If she keeps that up, you may see her on MTV someday...just kidding, she has too much integrity to for that. She does some spoken word pieces accompanied by a variety of sounds, noises and dogs sometimes. Other songs are operatic sounding and may require a trip to the liner notes to decipher...I'm not there yet. If you're familiar with Kathleen's work, you'll understand this is not easy listening music, it takes listener participation and a little effort. I like it a lot and feel it's her best work to date. (jsutton@rahul.net)

Kathleen Yearwood has this amazing talent for mixing the dissonant with the beautifully harmonic and this album does just that again. It's another step down her scary and beautiful road. She's always pushing the limits, both musically and lyrically. It's full of despair and hope, ugliness and beauty. Full of contradictions that together form something magnificent. Her music is unique and harsh and telling and beautiful. And an unforgettable experience. (Neile)


Ordeal

Release info:

2003—self-released CDR

Availability:

Contact Voice of the Turtle (address below)

Ecto priority:

Recommended for those ready for it

Group members:

Kathleen Yearwood—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

P.K.—drums, vocals
J.R.—bass guitar

Produced by:

Andrew Robins

Comments:

Kathleen Yearwood's website calls this the most grinding band she ever put together, and it certainly is grinding and deliberately difficult music. When my head is in the right space for this, it's an interesting listening experience, but yes, grinding. The first track will tell you right away if you are ready for this ordeal—a powerful song. "Sublimaze", an instrumental, is actually quite lovely. The Leonard Cohen cover, "Dress Rehearsal Rag" is better for me if I don't think of it as a cover but as entirely it's own thing. The growling vocals are just too over-the-top for me (which means that I'm not very fond of "Totality", either. After a rough start, where Kathleen seems to be trying to make a higher version of the previous growling vocals, "Job Curses the Day of his Birth" turns fascinating. The high vocals wind and trill around each other, then the guitar grounds and grinds it—long instrumental stretches, more vocals, drums, drums & guitar, then an amazing/difficult eletric guitar & high-vocal section...the track totals 22 minutes. The final track, "A Living Dog is Better Than a Dead Lion" starts with high vocals and then moves to noise. This one is even less for the faint of heart than her previous recordings. (Neile)

Great Songs To Empty Rooms

Release info:

2006—self-released CDR

Availability:

Contact Voice of the Turtle (address below)

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kathleen Yearwood—electric guitar, voice, snare drum, flies, piano, harp, kettle, orchestrial direction

Guest artists:

Reg Elder—semi-acoustic bass, vocals
J.C. Jones—trombone
Moni Mathew—viola
Keri-Lynne Zwicker—concert harp
Dan Davis—saxophone

Produced by:

Kathleen Yearwood and Andrew Robins

Comments:

This album is back to songs and the flavour of Dog Logic and Book of Hate. She has me from the beginning of "Entre Paris Et St Denis"—it's a traditional song, and her version is gorgeous and wrenching. The songs here are amazing and there are brief tracks of sounds between each song. I love this. Harsh and compelling. Ends with birdsong. What more is there to say? (Neile)

Further info:

Email voxtortue @ resist . ca

Why the ads?
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2014-07-02 20:25:37.
Please request permission if you wish to
reproduce any of the comments in the
Ectophiles' Guide in any context.

The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music is copyright © 1996-2004 by the editors.
Individual comments are copyright © by their authors.
Web site design and programming copyright © 1998-2004 usrbin design + programming.
All rights reserved.