Published Apr 26, 2015Berlin's Josepha Conrad is an artful and arresting performer, songwriter, and singer whose sparse folk arrangements house wordy, fascinating lyrics. She's named her band after a poem by Gertrude Stein, which might explain her fascination and proficiency with language and its intention.
Courtney Barnett has been writing these super smart matter-of-fact songs of late, and Conrad is in a similar if more refined vein. As her show unfolded, shades of Jonathan Richman, Christine Fellows, and Geoff Berner were checked off within my personal mental reference database.
Backed by tasteful violin, clarinet, and female vocals, Conrad alternated between guitar and ukulele, singing heartfelt songs about immigration officers, stripes, the autobiography of a skyscraper, and a host of other relatable if not previously remarkable things. She is such a playful, hypnotic performer luring us in with humour, both subtle and broad ("Ghost ghost" and "zoom zoom" went one chorus), thought-provoking ideas. She was cool and warm and only the hard-hearted would fail to be smitten with Susie Asado.