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Album To Watch For: The Keening — Little Bird

Mastermind Rebecca Vernon (ex-Subrosa) astounds with melancholic melody and American Gothic sensibilities that accentuate its folk laden ballads, making this effort a hard one to miss.

the keening, subrosa, experimental, doom, little bird
Photograph by Jared Gold & Angela Brown

Just prior to the weekend, Relapse Records laid the red carpet for the arrival of debut The Keening album, Little Bird, which came adorned by the beautiful oil painting of Lis Pardoe. It's an apt introduction to the expansive composition it represents, depicting a dead bird amidst the darkness, suggesting an emotional listening experience. Engaging and ethereal in its instrumentation, Little Bird is as the cover would illustrate, pulling on heartstrings from the serene yet invigorating opening of Autumn.

This solo project of Rebecca Vernon is cathartic one largely composed amidst the beautiful landscapes found at a retreat in Joshua Tree and a friend’s family homestead in Kamas, Utah. Its visual inspiration is strongly felt throughout the album's glistening passages. Beyond its personal nature, Little Bird was built from camaraderie formed from collaboration with a host of Portland’s finest session musicians, including the likes of Andrea Morgan (Exulansis) on violin, Kelly Schilling (Dreadnought, Bleakheart) on flute, Lily Breshears (Sheers) on harp, and Allegra Sauvage on cello among a wealth of others. It all results in a maelstrom of sound, unfolding new layers with each passing listen. The Hunter astounds with its two parts, guiding listeners through folk laden soundscapes encouraging an introspective listen. Little Bird is as cinematic as it is haunting with doom guitars interjecting themselves amidst the wondrous Vernon composition. The title track accentuates the album's wonder and serves as a defining number to the awe-inspiring power of The Keening moving forward.

Vernon and Little Bird are set to hit the live setting this December 1 + 2, 2023 as part of Decibel Magazine's Metal & Beer Festival. Until then, let Little Bird spellbind you entirely.

Stream Little Bird in full below and order your copy via Relapse Records.

the keening, subrosa, experimental, doom, little bird
Cover Artwork by Lis Pardoe


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