Surveying the empty house, it would be tough at first to tell what Big Thief …
IAN SWEET is Jilian Medford, a young guitarist and singer who graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Like any new professional to their industry, there will be stumbles and a learning curve. Medford learned her DO’s and DO NOT’s fairly quickly. For example, DO NOT let your bandmates push you around and try to dictate your vision. DO cancel them from the lineup and pursue your art on your own. DO work with a producer to bring out the best in your music. Listeners now have the privilege of watching Medford’s beautiful metamorphosis from newcomer to a more seasoned indie artist with two full albums under her belt.
Medford not only dropped her bandmates between her first and second albums but also departed New York back to her familiar childhood surroundings in Los Angeles. This change in physical surroundings put Medford in a more confident, sophisticated space, allowing her to explore novel soundscapes and truly “find her voice.” What we heard on 2016’s Shapeshifter (Hardly Art) was lots of noise rock and shoegaze guitars with vocals that got a little lost in the mix. Medford had so much to say, but it wasn’t loud and clear. Her second album, Crush Crusher, was like hearing a new person. Bringing a producer, Gabe Wax, on board facilitated this change and encouraged Medford to let her cute, melancholy voice shine.
Both albums represent her struggles with relationships and mental health issues, something we can all relate to. Hints of Björk and Warpaint might float across your mind’s eye while listening to IAN SWEET. Medford’s metamorphosis from shy performer to dominant force is still in progress, and as with any artist honing their craft, will continue to develop. If you’re a new listener, DO check out “Shapeshifter,” “Hiding” and “Bug Museum” and DON’T miss catching her live this month at Mississippi Studios.