To say Cait Brennan has lived many lives is truly an understatement. She’s been a schoolteacher, a working screenwriter, a dyed-in-the-wool indie record-store clerk, a newspaper reporter, and a printing-plant grunt. She’s changed her name more times than she remembers, and has occupied more genders than there are on the map. But one thing, above all, has burned bright at the center of everything: her music.
Brennan has never been your basic folkie singer-songwriter; she’s always been more Bowie or St. Vincent than Bon Iver. A singer with a powerful, singular five-octave rock voice, a prolific songwriter, and a multi-instrumentalist who plays every note on her own home recordings, Brennan worked for years in secret, creating otherworldly rock sounds that had never seen the light of day—until now. Discovered and championed by musician and production wunderkind Fernando Perdomo (who’s worked with Linda Perhacs, Emitt Rhodes, Beck, Fiona Apple, and Jakob Dylan, among many others), Cait Brennan’s debut album is here at last.
Raised as a boy, she rebelled against her assigned gender in her teens, causing a minor uproar in her conservative ’80s school. She worked up the nerve to play a few live shows, but rural Arizona was not exactly ready for gender diversity—or her unusual sounds, which were miles away from the hair-metal of the day. Brennan’s uncanny gift for melody combines with a dark, wry humor that cuts through everything she does. Her lyrics can be merciless. Her love songs are starkly beautiful, but devoid of treacle. She approaches each moment and each imperfect character with unflinching honesty, a lyrical, poetic flow, and a microscopic attention to detail—not to mention sneaky, dense jokes and references to culture both high and low.
Debutante is being released digitally on 8-track tape, vinyl, and CD worldwide. More: planetcait.com. —Suzie Lynde