LOCAL SCENE [Derived Headline]

By Mervis, Scott | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

LOCAL SCENE [Derived Headline]


Mervis, Scott, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


WORKING IN THE GARMENT DISTRICT

* Jennifer Baron, a founding member of The Ladybug Transistor, doesn't see her Pittsburgh-based project, The Garment District, as a "departure" from the national touring Brooklyn indie band.

"I feel that as any kind of artist, creator or producer, you always keep within you some aspect or core of what you have created in the past," she says.

Ms. Baron has made her name here not only for music but also as a coordinator of Handmade Arcade and co-editor/contributing photographer for the book "Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania."

This weekend, she releases the full-length debut from The Garment District, "If You Take Your Magic Slow," a dreamy, quirky mix of synth-driven pop and blippy experimentalism with delicate, airy vocals from her cousin Lucy Evans Blehar.

"When I was in Ladybug, I was one of four songwriters in the group, and we would work in a variety of ways. In The Garment District, I write and arrange all of the music and the lyrics for those songs that have vocals. My cousin Lucy sings lead vocals on my recordings, and we have a very natural and organic process of working on finalizing the vocal melodies and phrasing for the lyrics and adding harmonies."

Her musical interest, she says, is "an intersection of orchestrated pristine pop music and the vibe and feel of more ambient experimental stuff." The keyboard/synth player defines her process as "highly personal and intuitive," with this one journeying back to early memories of her parents' music collection "literally [being] our first toys even during the pre-verbal stage (Beach Boys, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young).

"I feel like the new album being more orchestrated and arranged is more of a return to music I had been a part of in the past and an authentic extension of the way I hear music and approach music making and songwriting."

Ladybug, which she reunited with in 2011 for a show at the Carnegie Museum of Art, continues on with principal Gary Olson using a rotating lineup. She sees her work in that Merge band as a huge building block for her new work.

"I learned a great deal about writing, performing and recording music while I was in The Ladybug Transistor, particularly since we had a recording studio in our house. We all lived together for a period of time, and making music was so intrinsically integrated into our communal lifestyle then, and I also got to help assist with recording and mixing our albums. …

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