The Canadian singer-songwriter and Fucked Up guest vocalist's latest sees its American debut today.
Jennifer Castle might be best known south of the Canadian border for warning Fucked Up fans — in a sweet, lilting refrain, it should be said — that they're "dying on the inside." But now, the Canadian singer-songwriter is finally introducing Americans to statements of her own.
Though Castlemusic, a nod to her former moniker, was released nearly a year ago in her home country via Calgary boutique label Flemish Eye, the record is making its U.S. debut today on No Quarter Records. "I haven't listened to it that much since I put it out," Castle admits. "Because I mostly play solo, I always play songs the way I'm feeling at the time. They're always subject to change."
Rattling off a list of influences for the record — including "natural elements" and "space and planets" — Castle sounds every bit a feet-in-the-dirt "folkie," but she says she doesn't take the label too seriously. "I follow pleasure and rhythm when I'm writing. If it feels good I keep going," she explains. "I made sure that my love of singing and playing was up front. I made sure there was nothing in the songs that didn’t need to be."
At home, the record has been praised for its lush textures and hazy, haunted ballads. Still, the Torontonian has remained decidedly under-the-radar. "I feel okay floating somewhere on my own free to do what I want," she says. "I've never really been discovered. I've just been working away, living by the music, letting it guide my life for better or for worse."
That freewheeling approach is to thank for brow-raising collaborations with everyone from those crassly-named SPIN cover stars in Fucked Up to now-defunct Can-rock heroes Constantines. "I see myself in a lot of music," she says. “Once I actually started playing music I began to figure out the kind I made when left to my own devices, but I'm glad to have the opportunity to be all kinds of different singers."