Portland Press Herald reviews ‘Winter’

A wonderful review of the Seasonal Disorder: Winter compilation in the Portland Press Herald

Entrancing compilation travels a spectrum of sounds, feelings


In a word, wow. I feel as if I’ve just stepped off a sonic hovercraft that took me across the solar field, by Nick Drake’s Pink Moon and into an aural wormhole. Along the way, we stopped at an array of planets, each one home to a different artist or band playing alone on a black sandy beach while a subtle, whispery snow lightly falls.

The compilation CD, “Seasonal Disorder Winter,” takes listeners on an audio journey of low whistles, fragile vocals, soul-touching lyrics and more.

Such is the trip that the “Seasonal Disorder Winter” took me on, and I hope your trip is just as scintillating. From low whistles to fragile vocals and soul-touching lyrics, an “I mean it” bass line and a spectrum of sounds and feelings in between, this compilation really is that good. No lie.

I bow to the people at Burst & Bloom Records in Portsmouth, N.H., for gracing my ears with a 16-song sojourn into an utterly entrancing place that starts with Winter Sons’ “Shadow of the Coming Days” and ends with South China’s “The Big Hill.”

At present, I am no less than obsessed with “Get the Horses Ready” by Jonx (Jon Elstrom, who has played in the bands Toast and Two-Ton Santa). It’s a song I listened to nine times in a row the other day. It makes me feel nine different emotions at once and, man alive, that’s what music is all about.

Craig Werth’s “River of Bone” has an ancient wisdom to it, and he has just the right voice to go with it: “There are those in silent sleeping beneath the stick and stone / There are those intent on reaping beside this river of bone.”

The band Torrez, with an eerie electric guitar contrasting with an acoustic one, along with female and male vocals, delivers with “The Winter & The Shame.” Novella’s contribution is “Sleeper Sister,” a subdued song that also merges acoustic and electric guitar. Lovely.

Dan Blakeslee’s song “Let’s Start Again” marks the CD with another stellar point of distinction: “Awaken with hope and forgiveness, surprise us with news that is good,” is his request. Emily Hope Price and her cello give us “Odiorne and the Sea,” an instrumental entry into the afterlife.

You can hear tracks from and purchase “Seasonal Disorder Winter” at burstandbloomrecords.com. Next up, the spring compilation. I can hardly wait for it.


The compilation is available to order here. Free streaming or $5 digital download here.