Basement Whispers

Andy Shauf

Andy Shauf
Andy Shauf

The Bearer of Bad News, the latest release of Canadian songwriter Andy Shauf, is now out on Portland taste-making record label Tender Loving Empire. Working with a Portland label is appropriate for a songwriter who lists legendary Portland songwriter Elliott Smith as an influence.

“I’m a huge Elliott Smith fan,” Shauf tells EW.

The sway of Smith can be heard on “You’re Out Wasting,” a song bearing more than a passing resemblance to Smith’s classic “Needle In The Hay.”

“He was one of the first singer-songwriters that I got into,” Shauf explains. “I was really drawn to his use of chords and chord changes.”

And like much of Elliot Smith’s best work, Shauf recorded The Bearer of Bad News in a claustrophobic space — a basement studio in his parent’s house.

“My sound is very quiet,” Shauf says. “I like to write songs with space in them,” he says, referencing “Wendell Walker.”

“It’s a pretty long narrative,” Shauf says, “and it’s fun to watch people listening to the story.”

The Bearer of Bad News gained early attention for the striking video for “I’m Not Falling Asleep,” a minimal piano ballad punctuated by melancholy horns.

“The video is made up of archival footage salvaged from the great decade known as the ’20s,” Shauf notes. “All the clips were filmed in Saskatchewan, a prairie province in Canada.” He continues, “the stark, simple imagery contained in the archival clips makes a lovely counterpoint to the music.”

Andy Shauf performs 8 pm Sunday, Feb. 15, at Cozmic; $10. All ages.

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