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Kathryn Calder plays The Space in Hamden on Dec. 4

Kathyn Calder

8 p.m., Dec. 4, The Space, 295 Treadwell St., Ste. 18, Hamden. $12. (203) 288-6400,


It's been an eventful half dozen years since keyboardist/vocalist Kathryn Calder joined the New Pornographers, the indie pop juggernaut created by her uncle, A.C. Newman. She released a sophomore album with her band Immaculate Machine, recorded and toured two fantastic Pornographers albums (2007's Challengers and 2010's Together), dissolved IM and recorded her debut solo album, Are You My Mother?, which was slightly delayed by the illness and passing of her mother. Each of these projects revealed different facets of Calder's creative personality, but she clearly saved the best for Bright and Vivid, her just-released sophomore solo album.

"We had this idea that we wanted something bigger," says Calder from her Vancouver, BC home. "More instruments, more of everything. We wanted to take some risks. So when I first started recording, I had something different in mind from the last record, but I'm me, so I can't completely veer off and take a total left turn, because I still love cellos and string sections and acoustic songs. I knew I wanted it to be a little weirder, so that's what we set out to accomplish."

Bright and Vivid features all of that and more, as the album's ten songs incorporate bombastic pop swells and delicate ambient textures and undercurrents into Calder's already well-defined pop songcraft. Although much of Bright and Vivid was arranged in the studio, there were times when Calder envisioned songs in their totality.

" 'All the Things' is kind of linear - it's one part then the next part then the next - and when I was writing that song, I had the idea that that was going to be a very studio crafted song," says Calder. "I had this idea of how I wanted it to sound, vaguely. So some songs I knew they were going to be a certain way, I just didn't know exactly what it was going to be."

The most obvious point of departure for Calder on her two solo albums is the simple issue of control. Having come from a group background, she recognized patterns in her songwriting that were fine within that context but that required her to shake things up when she was the sole creator.

"When I sat down to write the last record, I had never helmed a record before," recalls Calder. "It was the first record where all the songs were mine and all the decisions would be mine, so I had songs half finished and things were pretty fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants."

Given everything that's transpired in Calder's life, Bright and Vivid is indicative of that emotional upheaval but with a certain meditative quality to temper the tumult.

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