Yesterday Is Gone


"'I'm learning how to say goodbye / to let you go and face the tide / to wrap my feelings in a song,' sings Dana Gavanski on the title track of her debut album, Yesterday Is Gone. To wrap her feelings in a song: this is the task Gavanski has dedicated herself to with this record. By turns break-up album, project of curiosity, and, as Gavanski puts it, 'a reckoning with myself', Yesterday Is Gone is her attempt to 'learn to say what I feel and feel what I say': an album of longing and devotion to longing, and of the uncertainty that arises from learning about oneself, of pushing boundaries, falling hard, and getting back up. The record is a co-production between Gavanski, Toronto-based musician Sam Gleason, and Mike Lindsay of Tunng and LUMP. While Gleason helped Gavanski bring out the tunes, Lindsay's input marked 'the beginning of developing a sound that was closer to what I had in my head'. Though excited by the other elements of a song introduced during production, Gavanski and Lindsay were keen on 'finding essential things, not overblowing, keeping things bare and letting the elements speak for themselves'. The album shapeshifted as it passed through the hands of Gavanski, Gleason, and Lindsay, taking on different tastes, feelings, and visions. When Gavanski performed the songs with a band, they found new form again. She was intrigued by performers like David Bowie and Aldous Harding, who inhabit different personalities on stage, physically tuning themselves to their music. While on a crowded train last spring, Gavanski sang the Macedonian song "Jano Mome" to a cheering group of commuters. The moment, brief but beautiful, lays bare Gavanski's craving for live spontaneity. But it also reflects her injection of stylish drama and vivid emotion into the folk landscape that inspires her, from contemporary singers H Hawkline and Julia Holter, to stalwarts Fairport Convention, Anne Briggs, Connie Converse, and Judee Sill. Expressive urges run all through Yesterday Is Gone. Moments of beguilement splinter a backdrop of tenderly picked guitar, bass, synth, and poppier elements, which commune to produce her own kind of wall of sound. 'Often we have to go a little far in one direction to learn something about ourselves,' she says. The months of solitary writing and self-doubt testify to this, but they've led to Yesterday Is Gone: an optimistic, steely-eyed gaze into the future."