REVIEW OF "1" The Old Town School of Folk Music's Songbook. For those of us who've shakily strummed songs from the Old Town Songbook, this first installment of folk classics serves up equal parts reassurance and revelation. Some of the Chicago's and America's finest--including Dan Zanes, Wilco's John Stirrat, Robbie Fulks, Alice Peacock, the Mekons' Jon Langford and Janet Bean--turn in spare, playful and often elegant renditions of standards such as "Wabash Cannonball," "Erie Canal," "Goodnight, Irene" and "Midnight Special." The brightest gems come from more obscure corners as on local gal Rita Ruby's haunting "Aragon Mill" and Andrea Bunch & Aerin Tedesco's sweetly aching "Don't This Road." It's a very unique and fun collection of tunes, you can buy it at www.blooshotrecords.com.” - Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune

Individually, Andrea Bunch and Aerin Tedesco have been working hard to make names for themselves. Together, the real-life couple has joined forces to become Congress of Starlings. Albedo (Egasage), the duo's full-length debut, is the best of both of their worlds, in which lovely harmonies and timeless acoustic instrumentation dominate, while elements of programming ground the whole project in the present, with an eye and an ear towards the future.” - Gregg Shapiro

— Bay Area Reporter, Out Smart - Houston

No genre, with the possible exception of men’s R&B, has gone as long without a substantive leap forward as women’s acoustic singer-songwriter fare (for lack of a better catch-all marketing term, but you know what I mean). Since the breakthroughs of such superstars as Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, and Dar Williams, coffeehouse strummers everywhere have largely been spinning their wheels in the worn, albeit beautifully worn, ruts of those icons. Happily, Chicago musicians Aerin Tedesco and Andrea Bunch have joined forces as Congress of Starlings and are breathing much-needed new life into the circuit, incorporating fresh sounds and idiosyncratic vision into their intricate, deeply felt songwriting. Longtime touring and recording veterans on their own, Bunch and Tedesco bring different, yet complimentary talents to the table. Tedesco’s primary instrument is a four-string tenor guitar, which lends itself well to both her alto voice and her brisk, energetic songs. Even slower, more reflective pieces such as “Fallen”, (“Blue sky over Erie / It’s where I see things most clearly), sound driven and momentous. Bunch is responsible for, among other instruments, programmed beats and found sound which weave seamlessly around Kenny Dread’s Portuguese guitar on “Fishing” and clatter and clang over the thought-provoking, political “Killing Wage”. Her soprano harmonizes perfectly with Tedesco’s slightly deeper register on both women’s compositions, from the contemplative “Green” to the imagistic “Empty Me”, reflecting the symbiotic push and pull of their respective styles and perspectives. Much of Albedo seems concerned with the idea of progress, or lack thereof. But there is no shortage of ambition or progress in Congress of Starlings, who aim to fly as high and unified as their namesake.” - Michael Metivier

Pop Matters

“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

— Gay Chicago Magazine

Two of Chicago's best new performing songwriters.” - Colleen Miller

— Old Town School of Folk Music

Standing out from other bands, Andrea & Aerin make music that swings from thunderous electronic rants to breathtaking acoustic ballads.”

— National Women's Music Festival

PODCAST ALERT! Congress of Starlings appear on Windy City Queercast with Peter Mavrik and Amy Matheny! New songs and intriguing interviews! Visit www.windycityqueercast.com to hear it!” - Amy Matheny & Peter Mavrik

windycity queercast

SPIN CYCLE 2004 ... I was introduced to several amazing female artists this year, including Midwest-based Angie Heaton, who left an indelible mark with her "Let it Ride" (Parasol), the exceptional Andrea Bunch and her luminous Numinous, and the experimentation of Kristi Martel's "The Mule" (Sealed Lips) ...” - Gregg Shapiro

Chicago Free Press

Wow! Andrea & Aerin's performance was the highlight for me. I was totally stunned by the beauty, power and empowerment of it.” - Ed Mannix

Outmusic Awards 2004

Aerin and Andrea have fantastic chemistry and clear vision. A duo to watch!” - Kiya Heartwood

Wishing Chair

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 atthe same time. (see full review below!!)” - Vern Hester

Windy City Times