Jamie Aaron Aux

Seattle-scene staple Jamie Aaron Aux has announced her newest album, Close The Circle. What started as a follow-up to her more pop-rock inclined 2014 release, Velo Scene, quickly became something altogether new, with less indie buoyancy, delving into sonically heavier depths. Recorded and produced by Aux herself in her home studio, and mixed in El Paso by Chris Common (Le Bucherettes, These Arms Are Snakes), with guest vocalists Jenn Champion and Maiah Manser, and drum performances by Rick Weber and Common.

Over the past few years, Aux has played with artists like Jenn Champion and Le Butcherettes, but her solo work spotlights Aux’s skills as a songwriter, starting with her true prowess as a guitarist. Whether with a delay-dazed simplicity on the “Black Tourmaline,” or a grittier garage-rock punch on songs like “Long Shadows,” Aux’s precision is undeniable. The album oscillates between no-frills rock bolstered by percussive ferocity, and more subdued, crystalline-toned hooks paired with fluttering beats.

There’s a palpable darkness within this record that comes as no coincidence. In the midst of writing these new songs, Aux found herself thinking heavily on mortality and all its implications. The weight stuck with her, weaving itself in lyrically, like on the ballad “New Orleans” when Aux laments, “Exist to suffer/And yet live to pray/Is meaning just meaningless/If our final witness/Is only ourself.”

Those questions about mortality weren’t just abstract pondering, they stemmed from Aux’s own past bouts with death and separation. Ten years ago, Aux’s father passed away. His death came shortly after becoming estranged from her mother. As an only child with a no parental connection, that sudden isolation left Aux rootless, forced onto her own feet, a type of self-reliance that doesn’t come easy. That loss and frustration comes through on “Take You Home” when Aux and Jenn Champion harmonize the choral refrain, “I would take you home/If I had anywhere to go.”

Still, there’s hope in these songs. To close a circle isn’t to forget it, but to move past it and find a fresh start. On the album’s close, “Sighs In Overdrive,” Aux sings, “I could not have killed myself/Even if I tried/With the beating I took I earned a lot more fucking life/I came out alive.”

-Robin Bacior


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Photo credit to Adrien Leavitt

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