MusicfestNW 2011: Twin Sister Live Show Review

September 15th, 2011 – Holocene, Portland, OR

I have eternally been confusing Twin Sister with Twin Shadow, and that confusion had led me to be less than interested in Twin Sister. Thanks to MusicFestNW, consider me relieved from my stifling ignorance. Twin Sister were a most unexpected surprise, a pleasantry made to look all the better by the reality that they were sandwiched on either end by the far inferior Blouse and the less interesting EMA.

What is shared amongst these three bands is the presence of a female frontwoman, but Twin Sister’s Andrea Estella would be the most compelling of the three. Her on-stage persona feels like a combination of New Age hippie and African dancer; she sometimes removes herself from the crowd to gaze fixedly on a point in space and sometimes executes jerky, shoulder-centric avian dance moves similar to those I have seen in so many music videos from Ethiopia. Estella draws one to her much in the same way that Cameron Mesirow from Glasser or Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife and Fever Ray do; one finds oneself focused on largely her, wondering about story and where she comes from.

Twin sister’s appeal doesn’t stop short there, though. The rest of the band, though lacking any overwhelming qualities of magnetism on their own, succeed in songwriting subtleties which humbly showcase their individual talents. Unexpected vocal harmonies, psychedelic meanderings of bass, drum, and guitar, and droning elements all contribute to a fun and sensual bridging of psychedelia, indie pop, soul, and funk that is more interesting than those labels might suggest.

Twin Sister have a record coming out later this year, and it has now become one of my most anticipated upcoming releases. (You can listen to their latest track, “Gene Ciampi,” below.)

Twin Sister – Gene Ciampi by DominoRecordCo

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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