Squirrel flower is the alias 22-year-old Ella Williams adopted for
herself when writing songs and poetry as a child. Coming from a
professional musical family spanning generations, Williams has
always been surrounded by music. By 14 she started writing more
seriously and released her first EP of folk music under her own name.
After immersing herself in the DIY scene of her Boston hometown
before moving to Iowa to study Art + Gender, Women’s, Sexuality
studies at Grinnell college, she found a more experimental sound,
linking her choral roots, classical harmony and ethereal chord
structures, and released her first EP as Squirrel Flower, "Early Winter
Songs From Middle America." her second EP, Contact Sports, is a
perfectly formed collection of songs about relationships; intimacy,
dependency, betrayal and geography, set to the backdrop of the
American Midwest. The songs represent push and pull of love and
intimacy while also being meditations on place. From the fulsome
guitar and visceral, cathartic breakdown of lead single ‘Conditions’ to
the carefully layered beauty of ‘Hands Melt’, this varied collection
frequently impresses with its maturity and craftsmanship. Tracks like
the fuzzy, dimly-lit euphoria of ‘Daylight Savings’ are spellbinding in
their turn of phrase as Williams sings “I know we’ve gained an hour,
but I feel like we’ve lost two”.
Sandor is the musical project of multi-instrumentalist Alex Gilmore. His music incorporates elements from both the electronic and acoustic world, falling somewhere between ambiance and mellow pop. His album "Home Is In Your Body" was recently released in March, and features the vocal talents of Mette Studnitz on many tracks. Joining him for live shows is Brockton Anderson, who provides an array of percussion. Sandor.'s music is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, and other major music distributors.
Martha Cannon is hardly the first songwriter to note that romance is complicated, but few of her peers capture the ugly particulars of those complications with quite as much nuance. As the singer/songsmith behind Lady Cannon, she subjects her relationships to a vicious post-mortem, holding the mirror to herself as she details self-doubt, codependence, infidelity, deception and sunsetting love with unflinching candor. Raised on a Pacific Northwest farm largely secluded from pop culture, married by 19 and a single parent by her 20s, the Milwaukee musician has lived a singular life of tragedies and triumphs, and she channels those experiences into dreamy Americana that plays her lacerating lyrics against her honied voice.
After Lady Cannon’s first album, 2012’s impassioned Whiskey Dear, Cannon pulled the plug on the project and retreated from music. “I lost a taste for it,” she says. “My divorce kind of broke up the band and I struggled with performance anxiety and self-doubt.” It was drummer Devin Drobka who encouraged her to begin playing again and helped her shape the band’s unusual new direction and lineup, which includes some of Milwaukee’s most distinguished jazz and experimental musicians, including upright bassist Barry Paul Clark (who plays in Field Report along with Drobka), cellist Pat Reihholz and guitarist Andrew Murray Trim. The band’s new sound is softer around the edges thanks to those strings, yet as tough as ever at its core—a stately complement to Cannon’s sweet/sour songwriting.
Recorded with Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street Recordings, Lady Cannon’s album Fortune's Darling is an account of driftless men and determined women that documents the toll that trying to play it cool takes on the psyche of even the most resilient pragmatist. It features some of Cannon’s most barbed songs yet, and conversely, some of her most romantic, too. No matter how often she’s burned by relationships in these songs, she never loses her resilience.