Weather Pending Bio
The Band’s Electric Blanket of Sound Blends Pop, Rock,
Dub Reggae, Hip Hop and World Music
For Late Night Grooves Full of Subtle Power
On their first album, And How!, the San Francisco outfit known as Weather Pending creates deep, sultry, continuously unfolding music with a sound that’s vaguely familiar and surprisingly unique, a fever dream of exquisite beauty. The band’s sinuous electronic grooves and the smoky vocals of singer Janie Oliver draw you in, enticing you with their understated charm. Producer and bass player Rob Cross accompanies Oliver’s luminous vocals with the dark, melancholy rhythms of hip hop and dub reggae, profound tones that swirl and dance with the elemental force of a restless ocean. The duo has collaborated for eight years, recording their solo albums and with scores of other artists in the Bay Area’s hip-hop, electronic and jazz scenes. The album’s ten sultry songs have a cinematic, one drop, hip hop flavor driven by the subliminal swing enhanced by guest drummers Max MacVeety (Crown City Rockers, Zion I) and Derek G. Taylor (Nino Moschella, Alice Russell, Hyim, Darondo) and the shimmering overtones of guitarist Brian Bloi, who collaborated with Oliver and Cross on the creation of the album.
The live embodiment of Weather Pending is enhanced by keyboardist and sound landscaper Boris Burtin and drummer Rich Reffner. Burtin creates a unique sound by seamlessly blending the worlds of jazz and electronica. He plays a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, pop, reggae, funk, and Samba. Former projects include Code Name: Jonah, The Metro Big Band, Tritone and Millennium Sounds Orchestra along with Bay Area Brazilian scene’s Brazuca Brown and Sambao. Drummer Rich Reffner, a groove player at heart, draws from neo-soul, Bossa Nova, Latin, Afro-Cuban, post-bop, funk, hip hop with 20 plus years of recording, writing and live percussion experience. The current band members continue to collaborate, perform and create new material with new releases coming in 2010.
“We all come from different backgrounds,” Oliver says. “I’m influenced by the theater, studied classical music, and sang a lot of jazz growing up. Rob is a great producer and loves dub, reggae and hip hop. We’re trying to avoid formulas and let the music unfold with an honest, uplifting message.”
More about And How!
And How! is a group effort, a mix of home recordings and studio work, assembled by Cross at Broken Radio Studios in San Francisco. It was recorded live to two inch analog tape on a Studer tape machine, with overdubs done at Cross’ home studio. MacVeety and Taylor, though recorded at different times play simultaneously on almost every track, giving the music a sense of swing most electronic music lacks.
“Complicated Two,” the first song the band ever worked up together, opens the album with Oliver’s lulling vocal suggesting the simmering ache of a broken heart. Guitarist Brian Bloi taps out thick, harmonic overtones on the guitar and embroiders the melodic line with sparse notes that recall the sound of a Fender Rhodes piano. Oliver interpolates a quote from “You Are My Sunshine” into her closing improvisation, adding an ironic element to the song’s message of loss and regret. “Pieces” is another song of yearning, with a restrained backbeat and an expansive, oceanic rhythm. The live drummers float through the mix blending with an electronic drum loop. Cross’s bass and Bloi’s muted guitar create an ambient, but solid groove. The bubbling, reggae-like pulse of “Tide” makes it one of the album’s most ebullient tunes, blending elements of soul, pop and jazz. Oliver’s stirring vocal, an uplifting chorus, sizzling cymbal accents and Bloi’s sparkling guitar work give it the feel of a classic Quiet Storm track.
“Sunlight Fair” is a hip hop samba with an affecting multi-tracked vocal, sustained single note swells, like that of a steel guitar from Bloi that suggest crying and Cross’s swooping bass lines. “Her Thoughts To Me,” the album’s most funky track, is a surrealistic blues that muses on the oddness of urban life. Rob’s brief almost Buddhist rap captures the grim suffering poetry of the homeless, as Bloi plays a guitar line that sounds like a mad calliope at a broken down sideshow. Bloi created the odd, dissonant background noise by letting his cell phone feedback through the pick up on his guitar.
The album also includes “Timeless,” a 60’s flavored R&B tune with a ghostly siren-like vocal from Oliver and a sleepy guitar line that floats between Brazil and Andalusia, “Another Day,” which features Oliver’s bright scatting and Bloi’s lyrical steel stringed acoustic riding a hip hop rhythm, and “Electricity,” full of swelling, reverb drenched guitar work, spacey, dub heavy drum beats and another delicate vocal from Oliver.
Everyone in Weather Pending writes, both alone and in collaboration with their band mates, which accounts for the wide range of musical ideas that color the arrangements. With the live drummers adding their individual soul, R&B, and hip hop grooves, the music continually moves in new directions, driven by unexpected percussive accents. Weather Pending’s blend of live music with Cross’s subtle studio polish creates music with exceptional warmth and a quiet intensity that brings some much needed verve to electronic music.
Rob Cross - Bass & Beats
Janie Oliver - Vocals
Boris Burton - Keyboards
Rich Reffner - Drums
Weather Pending's debut album, And How! was recorded in San Francisco and released on June 23rd, 2009. The band is planning an EP release Spring 2010
Absolute Punk August 2009
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No matter how ethereal, breathy or tame they might be, there's an arresting charm and grace at work ...No matter how ethereal, breathy or tame they might be, there's an arresting charm and grace at work on the debut release And How! by San Francisco's Weather Pending. Fueled by the sincere vocals of Janie Oliver, the quintet sashay through ten gauzy, nuggets of earnest, plaintive mood-rock. Oliver's smoky vocals anchor the release, but Brian Bloi's oceanic guitars and Rob Cross' melancholic beats swirl and dance in a dreamy luminescence that seems prime for a Tim Burton movie....
A total collaborative effort, And How! allowed all three members the chance to bring together their individual influences making for one engaging listen. Cross' studio polish and Oliver's born vocal gifts create a sonic landscape that's dreamy, imaginative, ambitious and catchy. Their subdued, laid-back slice of rock is equal parts sweet, subdued and effervescent. Fueled by spacey reverb ballads and lo-fi, electro pop, Weather Pending have crafted one of the year's most pleasant surprises. Already a favorite with Nic Harcourt and the KCRW crowd, its only a matter of time before the East Coast finds out about this powerhouse trio.
Electronic Musician Magazine August 2009
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Catchy, ethereal songs; grooving bass and drums; unique, often Rhodes-like rhythm guitar playing; an...Catchy, ethereal songs; grooving bass and drums; unique, often Rhodes-like rhythm guitar playing; and the distinctive and
sultry vocals of Janie Oliver mark the debut release of this San Francisco group.
QRO Magazine July 2009
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The sunny, breezy vibe of this soulful indieelectrojazz trio cuts through the fog of their native Sa...The sunny, breezy vibe of this soulful indieelectrojazz trio cuts through the fog of their native San Francisco to deliver smart sketches of love and life without crossing over into the unholy landscape of adult contemporary shibboleth. Not an easy trick, but Weather Pending pulls it off with aplomb. . .
These songs shamelessly transport you to a tropical island, Corona in hand; or to your favorite downtown coffee shop, midwinter, sipping a triple, half-caff mochaccino; or wherever you would rather be. “And How” would be Iggy Pop’s album of choice after he had just fallen through a plate glass window chasing the white tiger. In other words, Weather Pending has put together a decadent delight that is as pleasant to listen to as a moped is fun to ride...
The 405 July 2009
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Opening track ‘Complicated Two’ opens with a characteristically awesome guitar riff and wastes littl...Opening track ‘Complicated Two’ opens with a characteristically awesome guitar riff and wastes little time before introducing Janie’s soulful, angelic voice tinged with sultry huskiness. From the outset Weather Pending’s sound will feel comfortably familiar but is suitably imbued with a personality that becomes increasingly obvious throughout the course of the LP.
Each track fuses a slightly different concoction of sounds together; be it jazz together with samba-esque rhythms and guitar, or electric bass alongside a virtually classic guitar style. The album is cohesive certainly, but with a satisfying propensity to reach out to the occasional atypical combination of themes.
The instrumentation indeed is commendable. Highly effective use of harmonics and beautiful cadences suggest Bloi was classically trained, and again the overall sound of the band benefits from his ear for melody either way. The lyrical content further enhances the originality, or at least marks a satisfying break from the usual pitfall of cloying sentimentality. ‘A man’s heart and a man’s pride/are a complicated two’ indeed Janie; her simple, gentle honesty shining through.
And How! is at time touching and reflective, at others uplifting. Janie’s is not the only subtly unique voice on the record; as a whole the mesmerising, intertwining rhythms, timbres and textures elevate the debut offering from Weather Pending above the level of potentially ambient fusion pop to a much higher plane. The forecast is most definitely bright thanks to this soft little ray of sunshine.
Deftune June 2009
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Dreamy and imaginative collection of soothing and beautifully delivered sound that melts into your i...Dreamy and imaginative collection of soothing and beautifully delivered sound that melts into your inner core and transports you into a world where only good things happen. Just imagine biting into a chocolate bar when you were a kid and that’s exactly the same feeling you’ll get when you listen...
Santa Cruz Weekly/Metro June 2009
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Janie Oliver has a voice so sweet and warm it’s just got to be fattening. . .Blending smooth and sul...Janie Oliver has a voice so sweet and warm it’s just got to be fattening. . .Blending smooth and sultry bass lines with toned-down clicks and high-hats, the trio captures the hip, downtown vibe of coffeehouse jazz while leaving plenty of room for Oliver’s honey-dipped vocals to drip through.
East Bay Express June 2009
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Janie Oliver's lead vocals warm, chill, breeze, shower, and stream through the music like a climate ...Janie Oliver's lead vocals warm, chill, breeze, shower, and stream through the music like a climate unto themselves. . .the band is just as adaptable, building upon a hybrid framework of lounge, soul, and electronica. . .An impressive first effort from a fresh San Francisco trio.
Good Times Magazine June 2009
Spacey reverb ballads to effervescent samba and subtle rap interludes.
PlayPumps International July 2009
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We love small world stories here at PlayPumps International. It makes our day when the stars align a...We love small world stories here at PlayPumps International. It makes our day when the stars align and everything comes to a full circle. With Weather Pending, it did just that.
Last month, the new indie band from San Francisco, California, reached out to us to see if we
were interested in partnering with them on their first album. How could we say no to lovely
music to help us further our cause?
It wasn’t until I was speaking with lead vocalist Janie Oliver last month that I heard how she originally found out about PlayPumps. Not long ago, Janie’s aunt Peggy Krist was giving a presentation about the Jonathan D. Krist Foundation’s partnership with PlayPumps
International. Since Jonathan Krist’s passing in 2006,
his family has become key partners of PlayPumps
International through their family foundation. Janie’s cousin, Jonathan Krist, was a brilliant musician and eager community activist. He was
also a young, early supporter of ours. Janie was instantly moved by her family’s involvement in PlayPumps in honor of Jonathan’s legacy. She also knew this was a cause everyone in the band could get behind. She presented the idea to her band mates Rob Cross and Brian Blois, and before long we were on the phone.
Weather Pending’s first album, And How!, was released on June 23rd. For every album they sell,
Weather Pending will donate $1 to PlayPumps International. So hurry up and support this amazing band and PlayPumps International today! We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership.
Taken from their MySpace page, “Weather Pending is a San Francisco trio that makes music with a subtle electronic groove that brings together jazz, pop, rock, dub reggae, hip hop, and world music. The band creates smoky late night grooves with a deep romantic resonance highlighted by Janie Oliver’s honey and gunpowder vocals, the dark, swooping tones of producer
Rob Cross’s electric bass and the shimmering overtones of Brian Blois’ lush electric and acoustic guitar.
On their debut recording, And How!, they’re joined by guest
drummers Max MacVeety and Derek G. Taylor who give the music a
sense of swing much electronic music lacks. The resulting music is hard to categorize. Call it sultry songs with a cinematic, one drop, hip hop flavor if you like, pop music for grown ups with a cosmopolitan vibe that’s both unique and strangely familiar, with exceptional warmth and a
quiet intensity all its own.
Santa Cruz Sentinel June 2009
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Former Miss Santa Cruz County returns with her own group By WALLACE BAINE The last time Janie ...Former Miss Santa Cruz County returns with her own group
By WALLACE BAINE
The last time Janie Oliver sang in front of a crowd in Santa Cruz County, a crown was on the line. It was her 19th birthday, and she was one of several competitors for the title of Miss Santa Cruz County. She was ready to show off a bit of what she had learned while studying voice at the music conservatory at the University of the Pacific. At the end of a trying day, the title was hers.
On Sunday, Oliver comes back to the county where she grew up, again singing for the public, but this time in an entirely different incarnation. And, this time, there's no crown involved. The 26-year-old singer/songwriter comes to town as the frontwoman for the San Francisco-based trio Weather Pending. The group -- to celebrate the release of its new album, "And How!" -- will
play at The Abbey in Santa Cruz, a new coffeehouse and performance space near the Vintage Faith Church at Highway 1 and Mission Street.
"I've got a little brother and sister in town," she said of her return. "My mom still lives in Aptos, so it's going to be great."
Weather Pending is a long way from what fans of young Janie Oliver might remember of her
singing. In her local education -- she attended Soquel High School before leaving early to attend Cabrillo College before heading off to UOP in Stockton -- she was steeped in classical music. In competing for Miss Santa Cruz County, she sang "Ave Maria" and other traditional pieces.
Her latest project, however, makes no claim to the classical canon. Weather Pending -- featuring Oliver, bassist Rob Cross and guitar player Brian Bloi -- falls generally in the realm between electronica and folk pop, though Oliver insists the band is beyond simple categorization. Such defiance of labels is a product, she said, of her artistic upbringing.
"It was a real hodgepodge. We had a lot of music in the house. My mom listened to a lot of Julie Andrews. My dad played a lot of Leonard Cohen. It's kind of a weird combination, but they've been a huge influence."
Weather Pending traces its roots back to Santa Cruz where Oliver met bassist Cross, who is a UC Santa Cruz grad. The two moved to San Francisco and added former Miami musician Bloi to the mix later.
The group, said Oliver, is a natural evolution for her singing career. "When I left high school, I was doing a lot of jazz singing and improvisation at Cabrillo, before a very focused program at
University of the Pacific, where I really had to concentrate on classical training. In fact, at UOP, they told me they didn't want me doing pop or jazz or anything else."
The formal training, however, provided a scaffolding that Oliver -- the daughter of marine
biologist John Oliver and psychologist Donna Oliver -- has been able to use in what is now her consuming passion as vocalist for Weather Pending. The group's debut album mixes Oliver's sultry passionate phrasing with a beguiling rhythmic melange of electronica with hints of dub reggae. The group also has several videos on YouTube, including "The Tide" from the new album.
"A lot of my vocal ability is like a lyrical dancer," said Oliver of her training and her current work. "To do that, you take classical ballet first. If you learn how to really use your voice, then really you can do anything."
WP performs original music, with select covers ranging from Leonard Cohen to The Beatles. They are able to comfortably perform sets ranging from 20 minutes to 2 plus hours.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.