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Julie Doiron - Woke Myself Up

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Artist: Julie Doiron

Album: Woke Myself Up

Label: Jagjaguwar

Review date: Jan. 23, 2007

Following her first musical career in more-than-a-cover-band Sonic Youth emulators Eric’s trip, Julie Doiron pioneered (with Cat Power, Scout Niblett, Edith Frost, and others) the reedy-voiced female singer-songwriter style that is now de rigueur. Her strongest solo albums anchored Jagjaguwar’s golden age lineup in the early years of the 21st century. Like Siam and Burma, Jagjaguwar and officemates Secretly Canadian perpetually gain and lose ascendancy over one another. A few years ago, with consistent releases from Doiron, Oneida, and Richard Youngs, Jagjaguwar controlled the field; of late, Secretly Canadian seems to have reclaimed the spotlight.

And like the periodic obsolescence of her label, Doiron’s lo-fi, confessional musical style, here rock-inflected due to backing by her former Eric’s trip bandmates, seems to be in retrograde. No matter that Doiron pioneered her style, and that it was once new; successful musicians reinvent themselves with every album.

Yet Doiron makes her records for herself. Her life is permeated by music; in the Doiron household, everyday life and recording are indivisible. “The Sweetest Eyes (When you Laugh),” from Doiron’s 2003 split on Acuarela with Okkervil River, was one of the most affecting songs in recent memory because she sang it with her children. Here, we hear a cat mew in the background of “I Left Town,” quietly enough that its inclusion seems like a permitted accident, neither twee nor planned.

Though Woke Myself Up is a group project, one still gets a sense of it having been recorded at home, amongst friends. They seem to be having a nice time of it, collaborating particularly well on restrained rockers like “Yer Kids” (new indie spelling alert??). In a way, these stand out because none of Doiron’s solos on Woke Myself Up measure up to gems like Heart and Crime’s “Sending the Photographs,” but at the same time, this group knows each other inside and out and it shows. The production, though minimal, brings out Doiron’s deeply hidden “bad” side (especially on “Don’t Wanna Be / Liked by You”) by crunching out the bass and allowing brief psych rambling.

Surely, none of this stanches the aging of both this style of music and its fans (and the attendant decline in broad cultural relevance), but the best indie rock can hope for at this point is making music with its babies and gaining new fans in that generation. They’ll look back and love it all over again in 15 years, and it will be brand new.

By Josie Clowney

Other Reviews of Julie Doiron

Goodnight Nobody

Loneliest in the Morning

I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day

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Find out more about Jagjaguwar

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