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Balancing a sense of awe with social critique, the dreamy synth-pop of Dear Nora juxtaposes snapshots of the natural world—full moons, heat waves, birds sailing through the sky- with a looming sense of post-modern dread. The poetic post-rock Americana of Footings observes and embraces both darkness and hope.
Songwriter Katy Davidson has been active in the Portland Oregan music scene since 1999. “Joy and woe are woven fine.” Katy’s lo-fi indie-pop project Dear Nora puts William Blake’s sentiment to music, writing songs that conjure both elation and melancholy.
Reviews of Dear Nora’s recent album, human futures
“Thematically, Dear Nora contrasts sublime naturalism with the mundane horrors of modern life: a purple beetle buzzing beside a bolo-tie-wearing content-mongerer; a narrator walking through mountainous fog while shaking off a dream of Lady Gaga; a speaker unable to admire the moon’s reflection on the water because they’re contemplating the death of democracy. But human futures is more than a series of off-kilter still lifes—it’s a record about gratitude, about small pleasures, about mourning humanity’s expanding disassociation from, and active destruction of, the Earth. Davidson swerves between awe and terror, attempting to soak in what’s left of the natural world before it’s gone.” -Brady Brickner-Wood, Pitchfork
“The lyrics on human futures are written from multiple perspectives but they come from a world of people who travel great distances and are faced with too many options. Katy writes about our being incessantly surveilled and barely tethered to the physical universe and the life around us. Observation of the everyday and of our endlessly referential pop culture serves as a way to understand personal experience through poetic language. It seems like the world depicted in these songs will continue to become more unrecognizable and more unlivable – but this is also tempered by my feeling of being understood by this music, and that life itself, shadows and all, is still beautiful and mysterious in the eyes of Katy Davidson and Dear Nora.” -Chris Cohen
“An album that mines philosophical poetry from moments when ancient natural wonders meet modern technology. Davidson retreats into the wilderness to find inspiration. But the Dear Nora songwriter and frontperson doesn’t seem to seek solace as much as perspective in nature. In their songs, physical distance from civilization becomes a way of discerning the absurdity of day-to-day life.” —Jay Balfour, Pitchfork
Footings formed in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 2012, as a vehicle for the songs of Eric Gagne, often with Elisabeth Fuchsia on viola; the band also featured members of Pile, Bunny’s a Swine, Dweller on the Threshold, and Rick Rude.
Blending elements of slowcore ala Songs: Ohia, experimental post-rock ala Godspeed You! Black Emperor and chamber folk ala Great Lake Swimmers, Footings offers up their own unique tapestry of darkness and hope. The band has been featured on Paste Magazine’s Daytrotter Sessions and has shared the stage with the likes of Mount Eerie, J Mascis, Diane Cluck, Waxahatchee, Califone, Steve Gunn, Mirah, Dredd Foole, and many more.
To fully appreciate Footings is to get to know founder Eric Gagne, a long-time champion of the local arts and experimental folk scene in New England. After years of playing in the progressive hardcore staple Death to Tyrants and freak-folk duo Redwing Blackbird, Gagne turned his focus towards providing a platform for others. In 2007 Gagne formed The Thing In The Spring, an annual music and arts festival with an aesthetic-tilt toward all things experimental and avant-garde. Curating bands and musicians from around the country to play in the quaint town of Peterborough. Eric has provided exposure and inspiration to an ever-growing local arts community. In many ways, the yearly event is a physical manifestation of the Footings ethos – providing a sturdy base for creatives on which to build and prosper.
“Footings’ sound embraces a sort of inner light derived from folk music, but surrounds it with a variety of rockist tropes. Gagne’s songs and deep vocals, combine the literary qualities of a heavy reader with the observational data of a poet.” -Byron Coley
“Striking a precise balance between guitar-driven edge and tenderness, Footings album Annihilation traverses meditations on redemption, connection, and parallel lives through the lens of kaleidoscopic Americana-Folk and cataclysmic Post-Rock stylings.”
-Trailing Twelve Records