Playing dark, hazy music equally indebted to Mazzy Star's narcotic allure, country twang, and the jangle of Sarah Records-style indie pop, Widowspeak features singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas. The band's roots go back to Hamilton's time in the Tacoma, Washington music scene, where she and founding drummer Michael Stasiak contributed songs to a compilation label before heading to New York. The pair brought Thomas into the fold in summer 2010, and in the autumn of that year the trio used a laptop microphone and GarageBand to craft a six-song cassette dubbed The October Tape. Captured Tracks signed Widowspeak and issued the band's debut single, Harsh Realm, in March 2011; the Gun Shy single — which featured a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" — followed in June.
Meanwhile, Widowspeak recorded with Woods' Jarvis Taveniere, and released their self-titled debut in August 2011. Stasiak departed the band after Widowspeak finished touring in support of the album. For 2013's Almanac, Hamilton and Thomas worked with Kevin McMahon to highlight the folky and Fleetwood Mac-like elements of their sound. Late that year, Widowspeak released the Swamps EP, which they described as a bridge between their previous work and their upcoming material. Shortly after those releases, Hamilton and Thomas relocated to New York's Hudson Valley region. The duo reunited with Taveniere on 2015's All Yours, which featured Woods drummer Aaron Neveu and delved deeper into Almanac's velvety country and classic rock leanings. Hamilton wrote 2017's Expect the Best during a return to Tacoma, and the band contrasted her contemplative lyrics with a heavier sound thanks to the presence of touring bassist Willy Muse and drummer James Jano in the studio. ~ Heather Phares