Pass Through Here
Pass Through Here is the first album from Connecticut folk icon Kath Bloom since 2010's Thin Thin Line, which was released on Mark Kozelek's Caldo Verde Records. Since she began performing in the late 1970s, Bloom has become renowned for her '80s private press recordings with avant-garde guitarist Loren Connors, particularly her signature tune "Come Here," which was featured in Richard Linklater's film Before Sunrise (1995), and has come to be revered around the world for her devastatingly emotional songwriting. Devendra Banhart called her "one of the most beautiful singers ever," and Stephen M. Deusner, reviewing Thin Thin Line for Pitchfork, wrote, "she can snap a heart like a twig." Chapter Music brought Bloom's work to a renewed audience with the solo compilation Finally in 2005 and the studio album Terror (CH 061CD) in 2008, as well as reissues of four of her six albums with Connors as double CD sets (CH 063CD, CH 065CD). Then, in 2009, Chapter released the celebrated tribute album Loving Takes This Course, featuring covers of Bloom's work by the likes of Kozelek, Banhart, Bill Callahan, and Josephine Foster. For Pass Through Here, Bloom travelled far from her Connecticut home to record in California with a coterie of freewheeling west coast folk rock types, including engineer Jeff Hassay and fellow performer Levi Strom. It's a distinctive new sound for Bloom, uplifted by floating synthesizers and disembodied choruses, while retaining the direct simplicity and power for which she is loved. Bloom faces turbulence head-on in "Criminal Side," while "Let the Music Come" condenses her 60-something years of music-making into two incredibly affecting minutes. "Bubble Bath" is Bloom at her most idiosyncratic and touching, while "Shirt Off Song" is an anthem to the wayward men in her life. Recorded in just a few takes, her vocals are raw and honest, but the overall impression is as masterful as it is ramshackle. For Kath Bloom, music has never been about finesse, but always about feeling. Pass Through Here is emotional, uplifting, haunting, and heartwarming songwriting from a master of the craft.