Based out of San Francisco, Petracovich is Jessica Peters with an old-world version of her family name. Her great-grandfather came to the US from Russia at the turn of the century, and one of the only things Peters knows of Abraham Petracovich is that he loved to listen to the New York Opera from the radio in the living room. Out of respect for the music, he would always wear his best suit.
Many years later, his great-granddaughter would spend many hours of her own in a living room, sitting on the floor and twisting knobs, tinkering and building a sound. The music of today’s Petracovich is a low-fi, dreamy experience of intimate vocals, crafted songs and the introspective production of muffled beats and textures. Her live show is eye-closingly captivating, with Peters on 2 keyboards, a bell-set, laptop and vocals and Heather Houseman usually accompanying on cello. Often compared to Sparklehorse and Aimee Mann, Peters subtly weaves her leanings toward the grainy vibrations of acoustic sounds and the floating textures of electronic ambience.
Her debut album, blue cotton skin took shape when she brought 4 track tapes created with a nord lead, piano and an old effects rack to Tad Wagner, a recordist/songwriter she admired for skillful guitar and other-worldly musical instinct. Here a great studio collaboration began at Buonapasta in Santa Barbara, CA. After a year of slow discoveries and gentle coaxing the album was released in 2003.
Early response to blue cotton skin was very positive. Renowned radio stations like KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic in Santa Monica and KEXP in Seattle were among the first to put the album into rotation, and great reviews came in. Said LA Weekly, “ …a space-age love suite slightly like Tangerine Dream playing with a Lite-Brite in a hidden attic.” Pitchfork calls it “a hypnotic dreamtime soundtrack, all misty insinuations and shimmering mirages, a surprisingly enduring album of muffled bedroom folktronica wrapped in the silken sheen of Peters' subdued songbird voice.” The album went on to chart at 104 in the CMJ 200 and to be reviewed in over 50 publications.
With the success of the release, Peters and her husband took the van on the open road for a 20 city national tour in Spring of 2004, and have been touring the West Coast regularly since.
The next release, an LP to be named We Are Wyoming due out this September, was recorded in the same patient vein, with Peters traveling to Santa Barbara for long weekends to work with Wagner. They maintain the dreamy, head-in-the-clouds atmosphere, and have found some lovely roots in a slow alt. country/rock swing. If the last album was for the moonlit night, this one is for a golden afternoon.
The Red Buttons label is named for the baby cow that Peters’s family had when she was a kid. When Red Buttons could not be found, her parents told her Red Buttons ran away, but 20 years later she found out the true facts of life. Red Buttons had been dinner.