Whitney Ballen
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Whitney Ballen

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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Local singer/songwriter Whitney Ballen started a kickstarter late last year to record an album "written in and inspired by the Pacific Northwest, which will always and forever be my home." That album—the spare, spooky ​Falls​—comes out today. Imagine Joanna Newsom as a ghost, benevolently haunting a cabin in the woods, and you'll get an idea of what the record sounds like.

Ballen will be hosting a release show at Heartland on March 22 with Specters and Birdkiller. - Seattle Weekly

Whitney Ballen’s voice isn’t for everybody, but for those who love a quirky tone that’s both sharp and sweet, it’s lovely. Inspired by her hometown of Fall City, Wash., this sophomore release explores both personal struggles and roving adventures through the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Layered over fuzzy guitar, explosive yet controlled percussion, and calculated reverb, the result is a dreamy, at times atmospheric collection of tracks that resonate with the heart. Falls is a haunting, trickling love letter, but for whom it is intended is not quite disclosed. On tracks like “Olympia, Your Bridges” and “Torn,” it seems the recipient could be an actual person. On others, it feels as if Ballen’s subject is Mother Nature. Ballen’s most romantic tune is “Rainier,” a nearly three-minute tearjerker: “Trying my best not to call you/I want to tell you ’bout my coffee/I want to send you pictures of Mount Rainier/I wish you were here.” Ballen is no stranger to the DIY scene, and its rawness is felt throughout. As are her interests: “Wacky, creative mashup poetry; feedback forever; cassette-tape releasing; [and] bedroom-playing bands are what I like to listen to and see live,” says the songwriter. It’s this messy urgency and passion that drives this untidy yet wholly relatable release. - Seattle Weekly

23-year-old singer/songwriter Whitney Ballen‘s music is nothing short of honest as she strips the paint off her subjects leaving them bare and exposed. Unspoiled, she lets her voice breathe its message without studio enhancement and trickery, taking her time allowing the project to grow organically through thoughtful, well-crafted lyric and production values.In true Ballen-esque style, this 6-song full length of musical vignettes is inspired by her love of the nearby town of Fall City and fond memories of back road excursions, mountain hiking, campfires, and the foggy chill in the morning air of North Bend and Snoqualmie. Says Whitney, “It is a very wintery album, as most songs were written in the season and have a cold, dreamy feeling attached to them.”

A longtime local media darling, Whitney is an artist in every sense of the word, understanding the art of storytelling and embellishment through stimulating and thought provoking multi-media images and sound. A poetic empathizer, dreamer and hopeless romantic, she remains true to herself, never bowing to conformity or industry pressure. Seattle has always crushed on Ms. Ballen and that love affair has now gone beyond the High School, Let’s Go Steady phase to the Promise Ring as her fans have grown up and continue to support her music having successfully funded her FALLS Kickstarter campaign.

Always a stickler as to capturing true, honest sound recordings, I was impressed to learn that all the recording sessions took place after hours at the Old Fire House Teen Center Studio when the building was empty. Besides its value to the all-ages scene, OFH has been Whitney’s second home having put in countless hours as a volunteer and regular performer which enabled her to settle into her recordings with a level of comfortability. Engineer and friend, Dylan Wall (Naomi Punk, Weed, The Numbs, and some Cairo mixtapes), also played some bass and friend Everett Phillips, broke out his high school trumpet on two tracks. The album was mastered by Jordan Koop from The Noise Floor Recording Studio, in Vancouver, BC.

My favorite track which happens to be Whitney’s favorite is, “TORN.” Says Whitney, “I think it’s my most favorite because I have played it to myself in my bedroom for more than 4 years and never ever played it live until I recorded it in December. When I wrote it, I was feeling something, and for some reason, I can feel that same feeling every time I play it and it’s eerie.”FALLS drops online Tuesday, 3/18 on BandCamp, Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon. Her all-ages CD Release party is at the Heartland performance space in the University District of Seattle on Saturday, March 22nd. Special Guests are the 2pc lo-fi Rock duo Specters with their youthful energy, uncomplicated Power-Pop meets 90’s Garage Band riffs. Doors are at 8pm and recommended donation is $5-$7. RSVP early here: https://www.facebook.com/events/254859324692393

Upcoming FALLS Tour Schedule:
3/22 Heartland
3/23 Make Shift, Bellingham w/ Rubix, Lures, and Creech
3/25 Guest House, Olympia with Get Mom (Jeff Stillwell, formerly “Deer City”)
3/26 KPSU Radio In-Studio, Portland
3/28 The Mint, Los Angeles w/ Marco Benevento and Electric Power - Guerrilla Candy

There’s something about music that comes from exactly where you live that just feels better than other music from other places. I feel like if you grew up in a city with a cool music scene for all ages, you have some pretty developed opinions of who the best bands from your town are. For me, growing up in Redmond, WA, we had some sweet bands in our city and the surrounding city. Issaquah had Modest Mouse. The number of Seattle bands is innumerable. Nowadays, Redmond has Whitney Ballen. Her latest release, Falls, is, simply put, amazing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Whitney’s work, you should. Whitney’s honest and entrancing songwriting and haunting vocals pull you into this record and don’t let you go. My top tracks from Falls are “Rainier”, “Fall City”, and “Ghosts” although honestly, there isn’t a track on this record I don’t like. All I can say is go to her Bandcamp and buy this CD. If you’re a try before you buy kind of person, check her out on Spotify.

Do yourself a huge favor and head out to one of Whitney’s CD Release shows in Seattle or Bellingham: - Seattle Music Blog

Anytime Whitney Ballen launches a new project, it's worth paying attention. For one thing, Ballen is a thoughtful songwriter with a beguiling singing voice that finds good company in Mirah, CocoRosie, or even Joanna Newsom. She also does watercolor paintings, and for her senior project last year, she curated and released the Pop 425 compilation, featuring over a dozen up-and-coming Eastside bands.

Her newest project takes place in a tent. This Friday, January 15, she's hosting the Gentle Show, a cassette tape release party and art event taking place in a giant tent inside the Old Fire House in Redmond, a fittingly soft space for the kind of intimate moments Ballen creates in her songs.

Ballen is releasing gentle tape—a cassette of songs she says are about "dreams, anxious habits, closeness, and other things have been creating a home for themselves in my head lately"—as a preview of her forthcoming full-length debut, White Feather, White Linens, due out in the next couple of months. She says the roughly recorded songs are best heard on cassette "because of the way tapes make music sound," but even listening to them on my computer, the songs are still striking in their sparseness.

Ballen's art will also be on display at the Gentle Show, and the lineup features musical guests U.S.F., Hoquiam (featuring Damien Jurado), Cumulus, Naomi Punk, and A Locket. It'll cost $5 to get in the tent, but it'll be $5 well spent. - The Stranger


FALLS 2014

White Feathers, White Linens 2011



Anytime Whitney Ballen launches a new project, it's worth paying attention. For one thing, Ballen is a thoughtful songwriter with a beguiling singing voice that finds good company in Mirah or Joanna Newsom. The songs are striking in their spareness.

The Stranger 

"Put on FALLS as a lullaby, but it's too good to sleep.
Sarah Jurado, Lightness Creative 

"Dreamy, at times atmospheric collection of tracks that resonate with the heart."
Keegan Prosser, Seattle Weekly

I love the simplicity ... the softness, even of the distorted guitar ... quite unexpected, quite intriguing. It has me thinking about times where I sat alone in a darkened apartment, replaying such songs over and over as I looked out the window at Fremont and the Olympic mountains beyond the Sound. I hit repeat. 
Dave OLeary, Northwest Music Scene

An excellent collection of songs based on growing up near Fall City, Washington. "
Chris Burlingame, The SunBreak

"Imagine Joanna Newsom as a ghost, benevolently haunting a cabin in the woods, and you'll get an idea of what the record sounds like."
Kelton Sears, Seattle Weekly 

"Unspoiled, she lets her voice breathe its message without studio enhancement and trickery.
Robin Fairbanks, Guerilla Candy

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