Released May 2015, on Uvulittle Records.
|every thing everything|
"A new Stephanie Rearick album is a bit like a trip to the art museum. Like a captivating painting, the longer you look, the more detail you're likely to notice. Rearick's music has always bent toward the abstract. She excels at creating dreamscapes out of sparse instrumentation, vocal loops and uncommon sounds, which, in this case, are entirely produced by her. Every Thing Everything is a true solo outing and one of Rearick's most satisfying...
...Although there are no real stylistic departures from her previous outings, Every Thing Everything feels like a big step forward for Rearick. She occupies her own space in the pantheon of Madison music, a confluence of music and art that is vastly underappreciated and largely unrecognized. That seems like a shame, perhaps, but such is the fate of true trailblazers, fiercely independent and cherished by those who take the time to wake from their sleepy dream."
-- Local Sounds by Rick Tvedt, May 7, 2015.
"Over the last couple of years, Madison songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Stephanie Rearick has emphasized her playful side, releasing a bouncy jangly lo-fi pop record with her band Ladyscissors last year and embracing the chintzy wonders of a Casio keyboard's preprogrammed drumbeats and synth sounds on 2013's Dreamworld (released under the name Stephanie Rearick Jr.). A bit of that rubs off on Rearick's new solo album, Every Thing Everything, which she'll celebrate at this show. on Rearick's new solo album, Every Thing Everything, which she'll celebrate at this show. But this time Rearick is going for something a little more sparse, returning to the elements that have been key to her solo albums over the past 15 years: stately piano, clear high-register vocals that at times accompany mischievous turns of phrase, and some appearances from Rearick's trumpet. A few tracks ("Stolen Presents," "Paper Dolls" and "Blues-Suite For Microtonal Piano," the latter drawn from experimental composer Ben Johnston) are meditative instrumentals, and "Everyone Singing" layers Rearick's voice into a somber round over subtly dissonant drones. Somewhere in between are the flitting, strangely touching melodies and slightly volatile piano of "Make Believe," and a couple of covers from Rearick's Uvulittle Records labelmates Jenny Magnus and Maestro Subgum And The Whole, making for an efficient yet wide-ranging 11 tracks."
-- Tone Madison by Scott Gordon, May 27, 2015.
Stephanie Rearick Jr.
Released May 10, 2013, on Uvulittle Records.
MadTracks: 'Skin' by Stephanie Rearick Jr.
"In her Casio-driven solo project Stephanie Rearick Jr., Madison musician Stephanie Rearick pares down her music to disarming effect. This is especially true on her new album, Dreamworld...
Dreamworld's melodies often feel splashy and playful, yet they repeat and interlock with precision because of the loops.
...What ultimately keeps Dreamworld engaging is the way Rearick makes the most of simple sounds.. And while every track uses Casios, the album makes them sound warm and charming rather than chintzy."
Like her previous work, Dreamworld presents colliding genre influences, eclectic covers, and whimsical notions. The difference is that Rearick sticks mostly to voice and cheap keyboards. She revels in the latter's goofy vibrato and tinny percussion sounds, relying on loops to flesh out the songs."
--Isthmus Daily Page MadTracks by Scott Gordon, May 9, 2013.
"Stephanie Rearick returns with a more accessible set of songs than before, which is not to say she's lost her edge. She's just channeling her vision a little differently this time.
'I can hear you' is Laurie Anderson gone pop, and it's a joyful sound.
'Skin' is a beautiful song, Rearick in a very bouncy mood. It's catchy and should be a hit in a fairer universe. Leonard Cohen's "Democracy" gets a new reading, Rearick taking an original slant on the classic song.
It's an album that proves her an inspired artist as always."
--The Ectophile's Guide to Good Music, by Anna Maria Stjärnell
Stephanie Rearick solo
Released September 23, 2011, on Uvulittle Records.
|Up The Wall|
"Stephanie Rearick returns and her original view of the world is intact. As before she mixes covers with her own songs to great effect. "Up the wall" looks at economics and is wonderfully accomplished. "Lithe and Blithe" is a complex song, rendered lightly and with confidence. "Windmills of your mind", once sung by Dusty Springfield gets an individual reading, as does "Toy Boat" by Yoko Ono. Rearick's made another great album."
-- The Ectophile's Guide to Good Music, by Anna Maria Stjärnell
" 7. Stephanie Rearick, Up the Wall
One thing you can say about a Stephanie Rearick album: No other Madison artist makes anything quite like it. Her piano compositions depart from the norms of traditional songwriting. Her lyrics aren't afraid to confront the political and the personal in direct and original ways...
Up the Wall's gem is 'Who Are You?' It's a seven-minute sonic quest for our collective national identity in which Rearick asks, 'Who stole our hearts? Who stole our minds? Who stole our souls?' She continues, "One day we'll wonder who let the bullies take over the school, and how we win when we play by their rules."
The complexities of the arrangements add to the sense of entrenched injustice that won't be set right anytime soon. "
-- Isthmus 10 Best Albums of 2011 by Rich Albertoni, December 1, 2011.
"7. Stephanie Rearick: "Who Are You?"
Rearick's bold compositions make her a one-of-a-kind force in our local music scene. The best song from her 2011 album, Up the Wall, shows why."
- Isthmus 10 Best Songs of 2011 by Rich Albertoni
Stephanie Rearick solo
Released May 31, 2007, on Uvulittle Records.
"Amanda Palmer gone psychedelic and retro -- one of the rawest, most original aesthetics we've heard in awhile." -- Keyboard Magazine, August 2009.
"...a continually-shifting arsenal of styles ranging from ragtime to science fiction, all while maintaining personal awareness and a keen sense of self.
Stephanie effortlessly does with her piano what others with computers lie awake dreaming of"
- WomensRadio.com review
"You hear intimate confessions that balance winsome and anguished singing in an ongoing dialogue with her keyboard, which alternates rock 'n' roll drive, boogie-woogie bounce and a dark severity that recalls classical etudes and the brooding fire of avant-garde jazz master Cecil Taylor.
...Rearick's balance of "happy accidents" and deliberate form shows artistic maturity, even as she grows increasingly expressive. She has shorn some precious techno-baroque effects and cranked up emotional resonance.
Her protective weapon is music, loaded with creative energy, vision and hope."
- Capital Times
"Like Elliott Smith, Rearick can take piano chords and turn them into a dream. Her mastery of the keyboard isn't just technical, it's emotional.
She conjures otherworldly feelings right from the start of Democracy. The opening track, 'Flyboy,' is pure childhood innocence, wrapped in the whirling excitement of carnival music.
From there the album gets edgy and nervous, referencing the macho arrogance of the president: 'And if you had a market for a category hurricane, you'd rev up the motorcade and show 'em what you've got.'
On 'Birthright,' Rearick openly confronts our collective acquiescence in a not-so-new world order:
"You taught your children to breathe free and now they're gasping/If they could get the air to speak they'd be asking/Where were you, when you knew?"
...Democracy is good enough to stand in the company of the best independent music being made right now. By all measures, it deserves to find its way to Pitchfork and to Seattle's tastemaking KEXP radio."
...read the whole article
Here are links to others:
Isthmus/The Daily Page MadTracks Feature
Maximum Ink Review
Dane 101 Review
Sea of Tranquility Review
Stephanie Rearick solo
Released April 12, 2005, on Uvulittle Records.
"Stephanie Rearick is slowly, carefully tweaking her recorded personality as a solo pianist and singer/songwriter who makes use of a variety of sometimes daring enhancements. Star Belly, her 2005 set of songs, seems not remarkably different then previous sets such as The Bucket Rider. Her vocal overdubbing and harmonizing are marvelous, bringing forth a multitude of possibilities as organically as a fistful of hollyhock seeds. The piano continues as a stronger and stronger element, left-hand parts tromping out a framework that a weaker player would have to wheedle out of a rhythm section. Both piano and vocal come in and out of a production treatment in which aspects move from large, sometimes obscuring amounts of processing to the purest of simplicity. When this takes place during the course of a single song, it is as if the listener has fallen asleep in an antique auction and woken up alone, back in his own bedroom. Several pieces such as "Twilight Fog" have memorable melodic lines, allowed an amazing breadth through the subtlest of production, the performer confident enough to practically ignore her own strengths. Rearick also presents interesting cover versions of pieces by Tom Waits, Brian Eno, and David Bowie."
- Eugene Chadbourne at itunes
"For Madison's Stephanie Rearick, labels like 'classical' and 'arty' don't do justice to the genre-bending music box of sound that comes from her upright piano. It's by turns adventurous and accessible, ancient and futuristic, comforting and scary. On her 2005 album Star Belly, sounds from an old west barroom mingle with high concept cabaret and psychedelic distortion."
-- The Onion
"Rearick's a genre-bounding vocalist, keyboard player and trumpeter who takes great care bringing together things indie with her classical and art-music influences. The gorgeous multitracked vocal chorale on the otherwise simple piano piece "Hymn" sets the hook here, and then Rearick is off to the races, jangling through mind-expanding psychedelia on the title cut, herking and jerking along in madcap material that bears the stamp of English dancehall ditties ... Rearick's no imitator, and frankly, the city's lucky to have such an adventurous singer-songwriter in its midst."
"Star Belly, the oddly titled third album by a singer/songwriter who succinctly describes her sound as 'piano-based classical/cabaret/pop,' opens with what might be the prettiest four minutes and eight seconds of music I've heard all year. Stephanie Rearick's angelic (and layered) voice blends with a simple piano melody on 'Hymn' for a surreal, mesmerizing and prayerful effect that actually gives me chills every time I hear it."
- Sea Of Tranquility
"There's nothing average or mainstream about Stephanie Rearick... She's funky, out there, odd, and most of all a very talented musician. This is more artsy than pop, however this is her most pop-ish release of her three."
-- Collected Sounds
Stephanie Rearick solo
Released June 20, 2003, on Uvulittle Records.
The Bucket Rider
|The Bucket Rider|
"When a record reviewer comments that a CD holds up to repeated listening, it is always meant as a compliment. Necessity can sometimes be the motivation in returning a disc to the player, providing the listener feels any urgency to understand what an artist might be trying to say. Stephanie Rearick should be very proud of The Bucket Rider, a solo effort created in 2003 -- but like the Franz Kafka writing from which its title comes, this is a work that requires thought and concentration and is delightfully relaxed about the concept of rewarding its audience with specific insight. It is not like getting smacked in the head with a hammer, an action in which the meaning is clear but just about the last activity anybody would want to experience in repeated doses. Truly concentrating on creations such as The Bucket Rider can be difficult, a challenging situation for the musician who is also a lyricist. Rearick's instrumental skills on piano pretty much dominate the first listening; this is a one person and one piano album, despite the occasional overdubbing effect. But it is not the affair of a fool's book of songs, simple chords pounding away behind sweaty emotional messages. Rather, the most positive aspect of progressive rock is here in its full glory, that being the overwhelming influence of classical music. A performance from one of 20th century composer Samuel Barber's collection of songs is in the program, so this aspect extends beyond influence into repertoire itself. Mostly, though, Rearick likes to reference Bartók, Debussy, Stravinsky, and others in the context of pieces that include tantalizing vocals, singing words that surely must be at the heart of the CD's true meaning..."
-- Eugene Chadbourne, All Music
"From soothing instrumentals to ethereal pop to dark ditties to witty excursions, Rearick delivers a cornucopia of aural moods, all via her upright piano and occasionally her trumpet." -- Goldmine
"Don't waste time trying to categorize what you hear on Stephanie Rearick's latest release, The Bucket Rider. Enjoy her lyrics and her expertise on the ivories for the journey it takes you between the dynamic classics of the past and the experimental sounds of the future with a little jazz and pop thrown in for good measure."
-- Circle Magazine
"Imagine Tom Waits reincarnated as Debussy, playing Joni Mitchell versions of Edgar Allen Poe poems on a 1920s era piano, and you get an approximate sense of the influences singer/pianist Stephanie Rearick channels on the way to making her very unique, idiosyncratic art pop."
-- Berkshire Eagle
"As much an art music disc as it is a pop recording, The Bucket Rider moves from aggressively modernist fare like the evocatively sung My Lizard to Brecht-Weill inspired work like the woozy title track. Throughout, Rearick's trilling pipes and sophisticated digits piece out some very sophisticated music."
"Ms. Rearick is truly an original voice and this recording is a daring achievemen"t
-- Midwest Ursine
Stephanie Rearick solo
Released Sept. 11, 2001, on Uvulittle Records
|The Long Picnic|
"[Rearick] has sharper instrumental skills than most... she's not afraid to shut up and play an instrumental. The Man Who Stole Tomorrow is almost too lovely -- but her writing also displays a grim loopiness she'd do well to cultivate, and on Not Another Minute she sounds like the love child of Tori Amos and Robyn Hitchcock."
-- The Chicago Reader
"...perfectly organic..., a mixture of folk, classical music and experimental pop that glides smoothly into the deepest waters we know -- the mysteries of death."
-- Cleveland Free Times
The Coma Savants
Released April 19, 2002 on Uvulittle Records
|Coma Savant |
"This band's debut release is simply delightful. Pianist and vocalist Stephanie Rearick establishes that she is no slouch with the opening track, the band's theme song. Her performance invites comparisons to Nina Simone, a situation that most players would subsequently exploit at great length. The Coma Savants have the courage to keep the length of the piece down to barely more than a minute. Then the band is off somewhere else on a track called "Bloan." In fact, such a wide range of musical styles are brought in, and the arrangements are so well executed as well as cleverly devised that the listener may be surprised to realize that only a quartet is involved. It sounds at times like an octet. In terms of setting an instrumental tone for this bigger-than-life band, Rearick is most out front, her vocals mixed as if a fruit juice smoothie was being made and her acoustic piano setting up the kind of vibe that should appeal to teenaged girls with pierced navels as well as the older generation. She sings in tune, and with an attention to detail that can at times overwhelm. Sections where her singing is contrasted with one or more of the male voices also singing or talking sound a bit like overwrought Bongwater. The Coma Savants' subjects are more abstract than the Ann Magnuson banalities, but the electric guitar madness of Jon Hain will appeal to anyone who enjoys new twisted takes on psychedelia. There is also jazzy, folky, and cabaret material here, generally played with both the precision of a well-practiced band and the flair of the creatively driven lunatic. The rhythm section of bassist Joey Zarda and drummer Jason Socha are just as responsible for the satisfactory state of things as Hain and Rearick. While they all push too hard at times, there are a plethora of bright moments and the potential, interest, and obvious ability for further creations of high quality from the members of this Madison, WI, ensemble."
-- Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide
Listen to Stephanie on NPR Open Mic.
Listen to Stephanie's interview on Sunday Journal with Stuart Levitan, on Madison's92.1 The Mic, or download the podcast.
Listen to Stephanie's Across the Universe on Coverville #329.
Read a 2003 interview with Cosmik Debris.