Jenn Lindsay | Fired!

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Folk: Political Folk: Power-folk Moods: Solo Female Artist
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by Jenn Lindsay

Folk music for the jobless, brave, and indignant
Genre: Folk: Political
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Paper
2:52 album only
2. Shoo Fly Shoo
2:51 album only
3. Not A Good Fit
3:17 album only
4. You Not Me
2:31 album only
5. Tick Tock
4:23 album only
6. A-List
3:42 album only


Album Notes
Other Jenn Lindsay releases:

"If Jenn Lindsay's songs got the recognition they deserved, New York would be one receptionist short and the folk world would be one star richer" Nicky Rossiter, RAMBLES

When Jenn Lindsay played a women's music festival last year in Santa Cruz, CA, the 400-person audience was on their feet several times for good reason. In her 3-year involvement playing on New York City's underground folk circuit, Lindsay's music has ignited a substantial east coast following. She's just finished her fifth album, THE LAST NEW YORK HORN, and is touring nationally in support of it and her happy transient art-life.

Jenn's musical community is the NYC Antifolk scene, a hub of musicians based in the East Village's Sidewalk Cafe, who share a mutual distaste for mediocre, well-packaged mainstream music.




to write a review

Nicky Rossiter: Rambles

Jenn Lindsay is unbelievable.
Jenn Lindsay is unbelievable. Her biography notes refer to being raised by wolves on the moors in England. OK, so this is an attention getter -- she then admits to San Diego origins. I still think she is unbelievable -- in the best possible way.

Here is a young lady playing guitar and bass, a one-time New York receptionist who can write and deliver modern folk music with the best. In reviewing an earlier CD, Gotta Lotta, I noted that if New York lost that receptionist, music would gain a star. I hope I did not precipitate something if her boss read it because her new CD is called Fired.

She notes that it is a themed album about losing your job, hating your job and being bored with your job. Sadly, if economic trends continue, Lindsay's songs for the jobless, brave and indignant may get a wider audience than she would like.

In just six tracks she grabs our attention and makes us consider what our existence is all about. Why are we defined by the job we do?

The CD opens with "Paper," a tale of the end of a job that will resonate with anyone who has been there. "Shoo Fly Shoo" is a heartfelt song about working and what it can really mean in terms of your life. She gives us folk rapping on "Tick Tock."

My favourite track is "You Not Me," a sad song that is sung in an upbeat manner belying the reality of how difficult it can be to make living. This is the track that could be featured on mainstream radio and make Lindsay the success she deserves. She is irreverent and self-deprecating, which may keep her from ever being a star. How many top stars would write, "wet soaks through my pants to my hundred thousand dollar brain"?

This is a short CD but says more about modern life -- not just in New York -- than many lush production 20-track offerings.

You can access the lyrics online, but you need to hear that voice to get the feeling behind the words. It may be difficult to buy, but try. It will encourage Lindsay to keep at this job, at least.

- Rambles

Suite 101 (Adam McKibbin)

A true DIY renegade
The Scoop: It’s a strange, ironic, hierarchical and oft-horrible thing, this indie music business. The cold truth of being an indie music reviewer is that about 95 times out of 100 the package from Matador or Merge or Barsuk or Saddle Creek is going to be better (on every level) than that hand-written package from the 87th dude this month who dropped you an e-mail about getting his stuff reviewed. Folks like Jenn Lindsay, then, provide reason (and reminder) to keep returning the e-mails and giving honest listens to every damned disc that comes in the mail. Because you never know. A true DIY renegade, Lindsay’s Fired! is one of 2003’s least commercial albums; a six-song album (EP?) that is a concept album about mundane jobs and unemployment. Fired! revolves around the sort of strummy, uber-aware folk that people talk about fondly but rarely request from the radio station. Included is the hip-hop Mother Goose of “Tick Tock,” an experiment that even cheeky self-awareness can’t save from the skip button. The rest of the album is a success; simple melodically but lifted by Lindsay’s compassionately incisive lyrics and her vaguely Joni-esque voice. She is a credit to the NYC music scene. Unfortunately, the Big Apple—forever brimming with the jobless and the indignant—will give Ms. Lindsay fodder for songs as long as she cares to keep her sympathetic eyes open.

Highlight Tracks: “Paper” and “A-List”

Village Voice: Amy Phillips

something good has come out the current times
Something good has to come out of the current economic downturn, right?
Well, hereˆs one: anti-folk singer-songwriter Jenn Lindsayˆs new EP, Fired!,
a concept record about not fitting in with the white-collar world, despite
many desperate attempts. These are anthems for every bored receptionist out
there, every artist struggling to survive on temp work. Because, as Lindsay
knows, getting fired can be just as bad as getting dumped by a lover.

Village Voice

Props to this fun-loving folkster who uses props of her own, including lyrical trapdoors, harmonica-guitar shenanigans, and maracas on her buzzing, well-produced new album that’s, at best, well intentioned. She’s sharing the stage with this guitarist-dude Casey Holford, a similarly “well-intentioned” vocalist with tales of botched romance and real-time dreams. Also: Phoebe Kreutz, Toby Goodshank, The Babyskins, Kimya Dawson, Casey Holford. (King)

Indie Workshop--Terry Sawyer

I’ve never been quite sure what to make of the whole anti-folk scene because I did not realize that folk music had become so overbearing as to require a counter insurgency. But I suppose rebellion is one surefire way to light a flare under a genre that might easily go unnoticed otherwise. Jenn Lindsay hails from the anti-folk New York City crew, though for all intents and purposes her Fired! EP charms with all the earnestness of a typical singer-songwriter at your favorite local java dive. Lindsay’s voice has much of Chan Marshall and Beth Orton’s breathy drag, giving her a voice this constantly warming strain.

While she might not share much with the Moldy Peaches, she does share a preference for lo-fi production and an unrelentingly wry wit. Many of the songs on this EP explore the uselessness of college degrees and the everyday degradations of the workday world. “You Not Me” explores of the bitterness of not being where you’d like to be in life replete with bitchy Schadenfreude asides. What makes the song even funnier is how Lindsay lilts her voice in beautifully dramatic tones, evoking Joan Baez, while simultaneously mocking the loftiness of folk’s past pretensions. “A-list” paints the most hilarious, homey portrait of a day in the life of someone unemployed skulking around in her boyfriend’s apartment. Lindsay’s ability to capture all the transitional aimlessness of being a twentysomething looking for a path to tread is dead on. In the liner notes she says her music is for the “jobless, brave and indignant” and I’m happy to have been snared in the last category at least. It’s no small feat for a songwriter to find ground to cover that hasn’t already been abusively mined by previous folk diarists. Nothing on this EP sounds trite, from the lyrics to the her voice, there’s some fresh remainder, above and beyond the usual bleatings of a down and out troubadour. Only “Tick Tock” seems like an Ani DiFranco-inspired mistake, a spoken word paeon to time’s murderously slow passage at a shitty job. Like DiFranco it ransacks hip hop and spoken word in a skimming, diluting walkthrough that leads me to believe it would have been better off done in her own acoustic strumming element.

The breathtaking strength of Fired lies in Lindsay’s pipes. When she cracks open the word “mine” on “Paper” and huskily stretches it for several extra beats, it’s hard not to experience the not-so-minor ecstasy of a great voice. For a person who professes allegiance in an anti-folk resistance, her work reminds me of everything powerful and possessing that could come from one person, one voice and a few notes scattered in between.

Americana UK

We liked her "Gotta Lotta" album released last year and now Lindsay is back with a 6 track ep built around the theme of, you guessed it, being fired and jobless, bored at work, hating your boss, you get the idea, we've all been there. NYC based Lindsay writes anti-folk music for the jobless, the brave and the indignant and she's pretty damned indignant about being fired, thats for sure (the album is dedicated to, amongst others, "The Man and other jerks who ousted me from the workplace"). This is mostly straight up folk in the sense that the lyrics take priority and, whilst the music is charmingly naive, basic but pleasant acoustic guitars, bass and the odd keyboard, the lyrics pack a verbose feast of bile and anger. Oddball track here is "Tick Tock", a rap with John MackEnflow of 00 Agents over a drum machine and assorted sound effects, which musically sits rather unhappily with the remainder of the tracks. With a full band behind her to take her to the next level she could be a force to be reckoned with.

Indie Music--Les Reynolds

Songwriting Genius
Feeling mistreated? Out of sorts? Hate your job? Indignant -- thinking the world is just not fair? Then the songwriting genius of NYC's Jenn Lindsay is for you.

Jenn's outspoken five-song EP almost reads like a series of television vignettes, a series of small plays that actually started out in her own life. Her words contain acid and also compassion. Even in her intro letter sent with the CD, she writes: "Hopefully this collection of ditties will help everyone to feel like they are part of one enormous, happy unemployed family..."

Ditties? This word from the same woman who, in the CD's liner notes, thanked "The Man and other jerks who ousted me from the workplace." Ouch! But, many of us have been there.

And that, perhaps, is where the genius lies -- in her ability to take these unfortunate situations and make them universal, and even at times to convey some hope.

Ironically, Jenn's voice almost seems counter-thematic to the entire feeling of the CD. It's a sweet, soft soprano with a hint of smoke. The stripped down, sparse instrumental arrangements work well with that effect and force you to pay attention to the words.

"Shoo Fly Shoo" starts things out with quick chord strumming and nice vocals that get a bit more intense as the feeling darkens. "Paper," is one of those tunes that's infused with a little bit of hope, of holding one's head up.
The "fired" theme continues throughout. "You Not Me" is one of those ironic-sounding songs, with a happy banjo and Jenn's sweet voice.

"Eight times fired since last December.
Eight times no longer a paycheck maker...

I sit and write on a wet storm drain
The water seeps through my pants to my $100,000 brain...
Can't you see what I wanna be?..."

And. although it is a totally appropriate genre, we'll save the last cut for a "surprise." Let's just say she delves into rap and leave it at that.

And although there are no real surprises with Jenn, there's always a bit of shock value to her songs. She comes straight at you with lyrics that sometimes bite hard. They show us where we've been, maybe where we are, and sometimes even where we truly want to be.

Starvox: Eric Rasmussen

makes you glad you're out of work
In my brief run-ins with folk music, and for that matter, anti-folk, I've mostly concluded that I will probably never understand genres of that type. But that doesn't mean I can't review them! So with that indirect warning out on the table, let's get started. Jenn Lindsay plays folk, or anti-folk, depending on who you talk to. You'd think a distinction like that would be pretty obvious... that one would be the antithesis of the other. Instead, the fact that they both have 'folk' in the title seems to tie them together. Strange genre, as Jenn Lindsay shows us: she is marketing her CD to the jobless.

Hey, at least she'll find no competition from major record labels. I don't think I have ever seen anyone market to out of work people before. Jenn Lindsay's sound is mostly vocal, and her soft cooing and sardonically bitter spoken word styles will almost make you glad you're out of work and jobless (or sad that you're not, as the case may be). It'll make everything seem all right. Backing her singing is a guitar (which is also played by Jenn Lindsay, not working of its own volition as my sentence may lead you to believe), and the focus is on strumming and percussive rhythms.

Except for the unhinging "Tick Tock", a bass-filled montage with abstract aural images of hive-like office buildings and busy-bee humans with barcodes stamped into their necks, most of the songs are actually quite pleasant, and should appeal to anyone who appreciates the folksinger sound. The lyrics are virtually inseparable from the larger musical work, and each song regales the listener of lost jobs, pointless degrees, and other themes that remind us of all the out of work Americans (while trying to offer a supportive voice).

For my tastes, Jenn Lindsay's music is just a bit too soft and subdued. But then, I say that about some black metal. If you like artists such as Cathy-Ann, then you might just like Jenn Lindsay - her music is slightly less angry or slickly produced, but it evokes a more singular feeling about her perception of the current job market. So, if you've recently found yourself fired, or otherwise unable to conform to college or a desk job, you'd do well to try Jenn Lindsay's latest six song EP. Similarly, if you're into easy-going folk with a message, be sure to stop by

Matt Fink/Delusions of Adequacy

charming occupational venting on her fourth release
Born of obscure origins, no one will ever give you a particularly good definition of exactly what anti-folk is, as just about anyone with an acoustic guitar and a gift for either observational or satirical songwriting can meet qualification, and there is even wiggle room around those strictures. Supposedly conceived of as a reaction to traditional folk music (although one suspects that it was more of a reaction against the rather punchless ranks of post-traditional folk singer-songwriters), anti-folk has never really made a huge dent commercially, but it remains a totally viable option for those who opt for a more mature and approachable, entirely song-centered, form of contemporary musical expression. New York City singer-songwriter Jenn Lindsay isn’t brazen enough to declare herself a part of this movement (she refers to herself as a “folksinger,” which is similarly meaningless, but that’s another rant altogether), but I’d like to think that if anyone embodies the genre, it’s she. After all, she’s a city dweller, drawing a distinction between a neo- or anti-folk artist and a traditional folkster. She also prefers thoughtful, rather low-key arrangements comprised of mostly acoustic instruments, another of the stereotypical hallmark of musicians within the folk stratum, favoring acoustic guitar and pastel colored keyboards over banjos and mandolins. Finally, her songwriting is good-naturedly topical and poignantly conversational, yet entirely modern and in no way referential to the world of God, murder, and rural life. And, most importantly, it’s all pretty good.

A song-cycle dedicated to the plight of the working people of the world, specifically those trapped in dead end jobs that offer little opportunity for self-fulfillment, Fired! is a clever, endearing six-song set. No doubt, approaching such a topic has been the inspiration for many a heavy-handed assessment of everything from recession to the foibles of capitalism and the ennui of modern life, but Lindsay doesn’t allow such concerns to overly cloud her vision. The bounding “Paper” opens the set over plaintive guitar strums and harmonica, recounting an apparent firing after either handing a resignation or an inflammatory note, giving her opportunity to assume guilt and rally strength in herself. Her voice clear, sturdy, and vaguely soulful much in the same way Joni Mitchell was early in her career, with her phrasing occasionally giving the impression that she’s singing through clenched teeth, Lindsay is a skilled melodicist, with the pensive minor key “Shoo Fly Shoo” her best entry. A cautionary tale of showing up late for work, being ignored at board meetings and otherwise not respected, and waiting for the eventual pink slip, she pairs a gorgeously hurting melody to the contemplative theme, coming out defiantly strong when she decides to trust herself and move on.

As could be expected, Lindsay goes on to address the topics of begging to retain a boring job that subtracts points from her self esteem (the solemnly rambling “Not a Good Fit”) and indulges in a few satirical dreams of falling into her dream job and growing rich and pretentious (the wistfully escapist “A-List”), further exploring the theme. The warm lilt of “You Not Me,” taking on a charming folk-revival feel with banjo and shuffling drums, while Lindsay questions the equity of her fate, seeing others end up with the jobs she wants. The only possible misstep - and that will depend largely on how much of a hip-hop purist you are - is the faux-rap of “Tick Tock,” a largely percussion and sample-based collage that is as fun as it is silly. Like most of the album, it’s clever and in altogether good taste, if not exactly groundbreaking or revelatory in any sense.

Ultimately, Jenn Lindsay is everything I want in an anti-folkster. Witty, smart, and tuneful, her music is the perfect companion to take out some occupational frustration on the drive to the market for milk or to while away a lonely lunch break in a mindsucking job. Sure, her aesthetic is comfortably classifiable as coffee shop fare, and that’s not altogether a bad thing. She refrains from the stereotypical over-emoting and self-disclosing of the most hackneyed of her peers, leaving her music as the antidote to the most gratuitous over-blogger. And you don’t have to be a burned out member of the proletariat to recognize that.
- Matt Fink, 8/4/03

Splendid Ezine: Dave Madden

thoroughly entertaining
Can you guess what this disc is about? No, it isn't more gangsta-rap based on the film Office Space, but it is about getting fired and the emotions that accompany said unnatural disaster. This might seem a bit boring and passé on paper, but hang on -- this is one of those cases where it's what you do with the equipment that matters.

Fired echoes the work of Lindsay's previous three discs (The Story of What Works, Bring It On and Gotta Lotta) in its folksy musical approach: one voice, one guitar, a few subtle orchestrations and a bunch of honest words. This six-song EP portrays the world exactly as Lindsay sees it; she's hoping to "help everyone to feel like they are part of one enormous, happy, unemployed family. The American people."

Fortunately, this potentially clumsy concept doesn't get in the way of the music. Lindsay carries her disdain for the corporate world on her shoulders with grace, a tinge of sadness, some fear, and enough humor to make the disc much more than a bitter rant. She's confident in her talk of cleaning out her desk, and insistent that we "don't look back now" ("Paper"), as reflected in the upbeat chug of acoustic guitar and harmonica; her ability to abruptly shift the mood -- both musically and lyrically -- as she voices her doubts is uncanny. "Shoe Fly Shoe" highlights Lindsay's Beth Ortonesque croon as she twists her tongue around words of "your ulcer ain't pretty, it's from coffee and whiskey". "Tick Tock" is quite an anomaly -- it's a sudden venture into hip-hop beats and samples, but it has flair and is well-crafted; once you get past the initial thought of "what is this doing sandwiched among five folk tunes?", it seems quite natural. "You Not Me" even made me forget my bias against banjo, as it's done so tenderly and tastefully that I would miss it if it were absent.

Lindsay's approach isn't necessarily unique: we've all heard "take this job and shove it" records before. The disc is notable because Lindsay's focus isn't so much on the extra-musical material as it is on the actual music and her lovely voice. Her "agenda" isn't a subversive one, intended to right all the world's wrongs -- folk singers take note -- and she doesn't take herself so seriously as to compromise the quality of her music. For all its potentially weighty subject matter, Fired! is thoroughly entertaining.
-- Dave Madden
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