What’s new: Tomberlin, “At Weddings”

by Jon E. Lynch

Tomberlin is the shortened recording moniker of Louisville, Kentucky-based musician Sarah Beth Tomberlin. “At Weddings” is Tomberlin’s debut full-length under the Omaha, Nebraska-based indie record label, whose roster includes Hop Along, Bright Eyes, Big Thief, Rilo Kiley, and Cursive, along with recent additions like Stef Chura, Sam Evian, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and many, many others.

Tomberlin may be familiar to some of you, and for good reason. “At Weddings” was initially released in a small run of vinyl for Joyful Noise Recordings last fall, and is technically being re-released by Saddle Creek, presumably to reach a wider audience. The fit is damn near perfect. As a label, Saddle Creek is, in many ways, synonymous with the sort of hyper-emotive, heart-on-your-sleeve Americana anti-folk and indie rock of this album’s style and feel. Tomberlin’s record is full of piano and string-backed compositions, marked by drowsy, lilting vocals, and heavily introspective lyrics wrought with self-doubt, personal insecurities, anxiety, and the complexities of love lost and, perhaps, found. There is a brutal, stark honesty and maturity across all ten tracks, with standouts being “Self-Help,” “Untitled 1,” and “Tornado.” It’s even more impressive that the majority of the album was written and recorded during her late teens, a time when Tomberlin was examining, and in many ways, admonishing, her isolated, strict, and staunchly Baptist upbringing, which included homeschooling.

“At Weddings” is available Friday, August 10, via Saddle Creek Records as a digital download (your choice of high-quality MP3, FLAC and more), on compact disc, and on cassette tape. Three different vinyl versions are available: super exclusive and limited to 100 first pressings on pink vinyl, 700 copies on transparent mint green, which are available only from participating independent record stores and direct from the label, and the standard run in black.

Recommended for fans of Your Friend, Sufjan Stevens, Angel Olsen, Anna McClellan, Joanna Newsom, Snail Mail, Julien Baker, Grouper, or Azure Ray (Maria Taylor + Orenda Fink).

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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