Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Silver Linings: Tamara Lindeman’s Baker’s Dozen

From her challenging relationship with Joni Mitchell to the picks from the thriving music community in her native Toronto, The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman takes Zara Hedderman through thirteen albums that shaped her songwriting

Photo by Brendan Ko

“I’m the most scheduled person I’ve ever been in these next couple of days,” Tamara Lindeman tells me via Zoom. It’s 9am in Toronto, where she’s based. She’s already done an interview before hopping onto this call and will be giving an online songwriting class immediately after. Two days later, she’ll land in the U.K. to continue her tour in support of The Weather Station’s two exquisite recent records, last year’s Ignorance and this month’s How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars. The former received widespread acclaim with its enveloping soundscapes and anxiety-inducing lyricism inspired by the global climate crisis, and came fourth in here tQ’s top 100 Albums of 202. Tonally, its follow-up is a more tempered affair, although Lindeman doesn’t hold back when expressing her despair for these fractious times. “I swear to God, this world will break my heart,” she sings on ‘Stars’.

A companion piece to its 2021 predecessor, How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars almost never saw the light of day: “I honestly didn’t want to put it out at all!” Lindemann says. While writing Ignorance she amassed over forty songs. “I had maybe 15 or 16 that I knew I wanted to be part of the record long before I even had the title. The other songs were very gentle and internal and too soft and sweet for the record I imagined.” It wasn’t a sense of urgency that compelled Lindeman to return to the more introspective songs and release them, but a fear of losing them forever.

“I started to feel sad that I had all these other songs which I really loved but were going to be trapped in my notebook. I was probably going to forget them because I always forget songs I’ve written after some time has passed. I eventually decided to record them properly, put together a dreamy band and just have fun making a record like I’ve never made. That was the germ of it; I didn’t want to lose these songs.” Aside from memory as motivation, these songs bring closure to this chapter in The Weather Station’s story. “I finally came around to the idea of putting the record out because I felt these songs completed ideas that were started on Ignorance.”

Seeking to create a record like she’s never made before is par for the course. Musically, The Weather Station’s six albums each offer something completely different. From quickened country instrumentation on All Of It Was Mine, to the lush pop orchestration of last year’s Ignorance – on which Lindeman drastically expanded her band to include two drummers, brass, strings, and synths – followed by the altogether more intimate How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars where a piano is her steadfast companion. This desire to be adventurous with her music makes perfect sense based on Lindeman’s diverse tQ Baker’s Dozen.

While Lindeman is more than willing to change up The Weather Station’s instrumental arrangements, her generous lyricism has been a constant across her work. The importance of words was a unifying thread in selecting these 13 albums, which she describes as being “hugely formative in her songwriting.” Pragmatic poetry and emotional storytelling, appreciation for melody and fidelity, these are the things Lindeman looks to in music. They’re sources of comfort in a time of dread.

The Weather Station’s How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars is out now. To begin reading her Baker’s Dozen, click the portrait below

First Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today