Linda Smith - Till Another Time: 1988-1996 LP
Label: Captured Tracks
Release Date: March 12th, 2021
When Linda Smith purchased a 4 track cassette recorder in the mid-1980s she was playing guitar in a band called the Woods, and thought it would be useful for sharing demos with her bandmates. In the end, the new hobby followed her from New York back to her native Baltimore, and over the next decade she'd release several albums worth of delicate, bewitching solo music on cassette. Till Another Time: 1988-1996 is the first retrospective collection of Smith's charmingly lo-fi music.
Sparse and gentle, Linda's music is tinged with lovelorn melancholy despite the sweetness of her voice. Over '60s pop-indebted melodies on tracks like "A Crumb Of Your Affection," she delivers observations with an earnest softness. Elsewhere, her voice takes on a post punk deadpan, as on "I See Your Face." The effect of both modes is a haunting charm, equally reminiscent of early Cherry Red Records and '60s yé-yé. With a no-nonsense approach to recording, Linda recorded almost all of her songs at home. There was a creative freedom that came with recording on tape, and unbeknownst to her, this was a conclusion that many musicians were reaching at the time.
Unfortunately, the independence that made at-home recording appealing to Linda also made it difficult for her to reach a wider audience. Relying on niche publications, cassette trading, and word of mouth to share music, Linda released a few 7"s on labels like Slumberland and Harriet but remained relatively local in terms of reach. Nevertheless, one can trace a direct line from Linda Smith to the ubiquity of bedroom recording today.