““Albedo”/Congress of Starlings (Egasage Records) - According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, “albedo” is defined as “... reflective power; specif.: The fraction of incident radiation (as light) that is reflected by a surface or body (as the moon or a cloud).” That not only explains the clayish appearance of Congress of Starlings’ Aerin Tedesco and Andrea Bunch on the duo’s first disc, but it also is a perfect metaphor for the quietly potent magic contained in “Albedo’s” 11 tunes. This thankfully ain’t your tired, two-artsy-chicks-with-guitars folky stuff: Gently blurring the edges of folk rock with elements of the experimental (in addition to cellos, violins and guitars, of course, you’ve got appearances by cicadas, running water and cement cutters - you know, the usual), Congress of Starling’s sound borders occasionally on folktronica/Bjorktronica but without any pretense or wackiness. Drumwork and percussion lend a primitive wallop to the songs’ poetically emotional cores, which address everything from abandonment and the plight of the working class to struggling to keep one’s personal demons at bay while reaching out for salvation. Highlights include the catchy instrumental Tol Eressea; Idols, which features a mild Middle Eastern flavor over which the pair’s vocals weave in and out eerily; the haunting Underworld, sounding as if it wandered in from Tedesco’s awesome solo album from 2004, “Birthmark”; and the gorgeous Fallen.
Judging from “Albedo,” this is one “congress” that should be in session for a long time to come. (***1/2)”
- Mark-Christopher Mitera
“After the Queer is Folk Fest in June, I had been pursuing seeing Aerin Tedesco in a full gig… Lo and behold I was lucky enough to see her at her Ladyfest gig at the Local Grind. It was a nice surprise to see her in a bohemian-style coffeehouse filled with overstuffed couches and an attentive audience. Seeing her in a theater is definitely not the same experience, not nearly as personal. To be blunt, the Local Grind show blew my head off.
Looking totally boss in a suit and tie, Tedesco not only has a vocal range that goes from a quiet tear-stained whisper to a ferocious razor lilt, but also a telling feel for drama that’s both arresting and vulnerable at the same time. The only vocalist that I can think of who comes close to such a combination is Prince. But there is nothing smug about her confidence pushing across the lyric (which served him well), nothing removed about the emotional punch that she delivers in her phrasing (which served him well, until it got grating), and certainly nothing held back in her approach (after all, it was just her and a guitar). Playing mostly solo-acoustic (and I must add that this wasn’t A.T.’s headlining gig, she had the same amount of time as everyone else on the bill), she displayed a stately suppleness that slid into furious emotionalism, subdued tremors of drama and back again. “Downside Up” and “Crush” were operettas of high drama, but “Fire”, where she and a guest vocalist Andrea Bunch traded lilting choruses in a mesmerizing and intense volley, was on an alien plane. Music this powerful and haunting just isn’t made anymore. Do yourself a favor, go see this woman.”
- Vern Hester
“There are some secrets so good, the pleasure they induce so incredible, you're reluctant to share them with anyone- you jealously guard them, wanting to keep them to yourself so that when you do let slip, you can sort of bask in the glow of being one of those cutting-edge people who knows just the right kind of music.
Okay, kiddies, come a little closer and I'll let you in on one of those secrets: Aerin Tedesco's "Birthmark". Yeah, I can't claim familiarity with the Buffalo, N.Y. native's previous four discs- yet- but I'm already making room on my year-end best-of for this 11-track set of folk-rock.
Each song on "Birthmark" unwinds like the innermost thoughts of a close friend during one of those late-night "Do you have a few minutes?"- type of calls, with Tedesco brilliantly and painfully examining all sides of a relationship, from infatuation through break-up and healing. By taking a highly cognitive approach to songwriting, constantly questioning and probing, Tedesco comes up with a disc that gently haunts the mind and soul, particularly on such numbers as London and City Song, rich metaphors for the cacophony of the confusion of relationships; the slightly edgy Crush, which deals with the love's initial paralysis; the achingly beautiful and poetic Insight ("I don't want to give you words that float through the air/ I want to give you words that stay"); and the moderately uptempo and inspirational Stand Up.
But remember, kids, this is a secret. So go out and tell everyone. (****)”
“. . . With a flexible voice as delicate as gossamer but with the punch of a full-throated Met soprano, the 22-year-old Brant native sang as brightly as the morning star she described in "Star Song."
Tedesco weaves a tapestry of literary allusions and ambiguities, forcing listeners to fill in the blanks with their own personal experiences. Many of her fans mouthed the lyrics in unison as she sang.
Her opening song, "Rock," had nothing to do with a style of music but alluded to loving relationships that depend upon a solid foundation . . .
Rear View" summed up Tedesco's songwriting talents. The song carried wispy images of retrospection ("When you find you're way back"), distortion ("Things are closer than they appear") and destruction ("The mirror is going to crack").
To quote the Indigo Girls' "Virginia Woolfe" from their 1992 album "Rites of Passage," "each life has its place," and Aerin Tedesco's should be making music”
- Jim Santella