Milwaukee's Heidi Spencer plays at The Pabst Theater tonight, opening for Iron & Wine. Expect to hear music from her upcoming Bella Union/Yep Roc CD, "Under Streetlight Glow."
Spencer signed with the U.K.-based Bella Union label -- home to Milwaukee ex-pat Stephanie Dosen, The Acorn, The Low Anthem, Andrew Bird, Beach House, Midlake, Radiohead's Philip Selway, Fleet Foxes and others -- earlier this year and played a Bella Union showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, in March.
Spencer traveled to England to play a string of dates in September, with backing from Dosen and label boss Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins).
Spencer's label debut is due out in early 2011, according to the Bella Union Web site, and will be released in the U.S. via Bella Union's distribution deal with Yep Roc.
"Under Streetlght Glow" has 10 songs and runs just under 38 minutes long.
"Alibi" is a lazy, rootsy opener that showcases Spencer's emotive vocals. A darker, more mysterious vibe kicks in with the second -- and title -- track with its impassioned voice and atmospheric whistling.
The mood continues through "Moth Met Spider, " "Go to France" and "Hibernation," which has what may be the the record's most alluring vocal performance.
"Tried and True" and "Whiskey" close out "Under Streetlight Glow" with the same easy, melodic folk pop of "Alibi."
Spencer has crafted an intimate record with a dusky, twilight feel that ought to propel her toward wider success.
Seeing her at The Pabst may well become a regular event.
Tonight's show starts at 8 and costs $25. Photographer Deone Jahnke will shoot the performance for OnMilwaukee.com and we'll post some photos tomorrow.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.