CD Review: Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler

The first music I heard of Marissa Nadler’s was Little Hells. The thing that struck me about that CD was just how … I don’t know … mellowingly  meloncholy? haunting? Dare I say it–macabre? It was one of the most amazing CDs I had ever heard.

I wasted no time hunting down and acquiring everything she’d done to that point. Ballads of Living and Dying, The Saga of Mayflower May, and Songs III: Birds on the Water. All of it was provacatively haunting, and I listened to it non-stop for weeks.

It was a pleasant shock to discover that Miss Nadler Released her 5th CD this past Tuesday–a self-titled effort that elevates her music to a new benchmark that borders on heavenly. 11 tracks that clock in at right around 45 minutes, there isn’t a song on here that won’t leave you wondering how God let such an angelic voice slip out of earshot.

The longest track, “In Your Lair, Bear,” is 6 minutes long. It opens with Marissa gently plucking her guitar and musing, “Where did you go when the snow fell that year? You’re inside these wooden walls like a bear, eager child, for the end in your lair. For the end of the year. The old familiar fear creeps up your little arms and runs through your veins like blood through your songs.” After several listens, that’s what I’m hearing, anyway. Between her guitar, the strings arrangement, the low-key cymbals and percussion, you can’t help but swoon like a shark that’s been knocked on its back.

You see the 3rd track, “The Sun Always Reminds Me of You,” and you think, “Aww … a love song!” Yah. This is about as love-songy as “Every Breath You Take.” The only difference is that this doesn’t have the stalker feel to it so much as it has the “Shit … why must every ray of sunshine remind me of you? Curse my rotten luck.” You can hear her heart breaking with each strum and drum beat. I love the steel guitar at the end. Gives it just that hint of country flair to it without actually invoking Fords, dogs, shotguns, line dancing and cheating spouses. No, okay … seriously. You know how a lot of country has that “love lost” feel to it? That’s this song in a nutshell.

My favorite song on the CD is “Baby I Will Leave You in the Morning.” Hands down. The chords, arrangement, BPM, theme, lyrics … this thing is brooding, moody, depressingly gorgeous, and just frickin’ hot. For some reason, it has a very Pink Floyd vibe to the music. This makes it on my “desert island” top 10 list. That’s right. Love this song.

This whole CD is just breath-taking. I’m already wishing she would put out an new CD. Not because this one has grown stale (right … cuz that’s possible), but because her music is just that good. I crave, want, and desire more. Now.

File this under “shiver” cuz you will get the chills from listening to this.


Azam Ali’s New CD Comes Out Tomorrow!

Azam Ali’s new CD comes out TOMORROW. I’m extremely stoked about this. I have all her solo material, her work with Vas and Niyaz, Roseland … there isn’t anything she does that’s not incredible. I pre-ordered the new CD on Amazon this morning, but I highly doubt they’ll get it to me by tomorrow.

I wish I had checked her site last week. I knew her CD was coming out either in April or May, but I didn’t know it was tomorrow, ya know? So now I have something else to look forward to this week other than playoff hockey (Go Sabres!).

Sarah Fimm Listening Party!

On Sarah Fimm’s Facebook page, she has announced a May 5th listening party on AOL for her new CD, Near Infinite Possibility . This makes me *extremely* happy! If you’re not familiar with her material, I would highly recommend becoming such. Ethereal, haunting, moody, and like I said before, just flat-out, downright sexy.

For the non-inculcated, here are some vids.

And finally, a duet with the King of Goth, Peter Murphy:

If this isn’t enough to whet your appetite, you can check out the video for her new single, “Yellow,” on her website. I won’t embed it here so you can all check out her site.

Review: Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Holy crap. Really? A day early?! The news is all over the place: Facebook, Twitter … Radiohead had nothing else going on today, so why wait until tomorrow to release their newest masterpiece?

And why indeed! For those of you who have heard “Lotus Flower,” you’ll know the excitement and anticipation this CD holds. One of my favorite songs of theirs is “Everything In Its Right Place.” For some reason, this song kind of has that vibe to it. LOVE LOVE *LOVE* this song.

For those of you who have been living under a musical rock aren’t familiar with Radiohead, a brief history is in order. The band consists of Thom Yorke, who handles the vocals, Jonny Greenwood on guitars and occasional keyboards, Ed O’Brien on guitars, Colin Greenwood providing bass and synth work, and Phil Selway on the drums. King of Limbs is their 8th studio recording, and if it’s anything like their previous works, you’ll want to grab this. Like … now.

Yet you’re still reading this. Why?! Why are you buying this RIGHT NOW?!

As I’ve discussed in previous posts, more and more bands are doing their own marketing and distribution. Radiohead is no exception. They’re jazzing it up for the “newspaper version.” Check out what all is included at the link above. I ponied up the $48 for that one, and I would strongly recommend that you do the same. For one, it comes with a CD, which I can then rip to wav if I want. For another, vinyl. Clear. Making a HUGE comeback. For the audiophile purist, vinyl is the way to go.

However, if you’re not into the ancillary peripherii, the $9 and $14 for mp3 and wav respectably is a great way to go. Either way, you’ll get your digital copy of the new CD immediately. Or, well … as fast as your throttled high-speed internet provider will allow (I’m spitting in your general direction, Comcast.).

So how does the new CD sound? What’s it like?

On one hand, it’s a rich, deep, haunting CD. At the same time, there is a more minimalistic approach than in Radiohead CDs of the past. By “minimalistic,” by no means do I mean that the music is sub-standard. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a pure sound to this that

“Bloom,” the first track, is a eargasmic trip into a soundscape that these little Apple earbuds simply do not do justice. I really need my Bose headphones back … *sigh*. Oh well. With the effect this song has had on me the two times I’ve listened to it, I’d swear that it’s binaural, but I can’t be positive. I do know that it’s extremely mellow and relaxing.

Compared to “Morning Mr. Magpie,” that is, which starts off, “You got some nerve, coming here. You stole it all … give it back.” There’s a very low-level feel of angst and just a hint of pissed-off-edness to keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the song to explode … and it never does. It maintains the air of “I’m going to kick your ass … maybe” throughout the entire song.

“Codex” is a fantastic piano piece that will haunt you until the day you die. There’s a warm mix of traditional piano, synth, a very subdued, possibly drum machine bass, and of course, Thom’s crooning. Mid-way through, there’s some synthetic horn sounds that mixes really well with the song. Overall, it’s a really peaceful piece.

You know my MO … I’m not reviewing every song. I will say this: If you’ve liked the last few Radiohead CDs, this one will grow on you really fast. This one is to be enjoyed with a a drink, dim lights, and a good pair of headphones or a fantastic home stereo. If you’re the brandy-sipping type, you might want to pour yourself a glass, sit back in your favorite chair, kick your feet up, and just chill with this. You’ll find yourself hitting repeat and zoning out for hours.

New Foo For You

Just for fun, I typed #music in twitter’s search field on my phone. The first hit that came up was from @hennemusic. What good news is this! Foo Fighters announce new album details? Read the article on his website here. Not sure where he gleaned his info, but it’s pretty detailed.

I knew that something was in the works, but this is more info than I’ve seen anywhere.  So this is great news! They’re a phenomenal act to catch live. Here’s hoping a tour comes by your neck of the woods. If not, save up your gas money and hit the road. Nothing like a good drive to a “foreign” city to check out incredible music, right?  

Awesome. April 12. Good day to be a Foo fan!

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