Sea of Bees, ‘Songs for the Ravens’ (Crossbill)
Multi-instrumentalist Julie Baenziger hails from Grandaddy’s stomping grounds, California’s Central Valley, and like her onetime neighbors, she has an impeccable knack for infusing despair with charm. Her pain is the loveless kind, and she conveys it in a voice equal parts twang and coo, backed by lush country-folk and gossamer bedroom haze. “Skinnybone” sounds like it takes place inside of a music box; “Marmalade” in dense woods on a moonless night. A quick dip into glitch seems like a novice move, but all that slide guitar and glockenspiel give Sea of Bees a seasoned sorrow.