Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Special: Ladies Sing The Blues

Four ladies, with their haunting, melancholy voices, determined to fill your sleepless nights with beguiling lullabies.


Trespassers William - my current obsession. Anna-Lynne Williams, the lead singer, has an emotive, unique voice that easily draws comparisons to Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. Their music is for those nights when you just want to turn all the lights off and lie awake in your bed, staring still at the ceiling while thoughts unravel in your head. These days they spend time in the studio working on new materials - which is great news for fans like me. Below are 3 notable tracks from their 2004 album, 'Different Stars'.

Trespassers William - Lie In The Sound
Trespassers William - Different Stars
Trespassers William - Alone


Susanna is the Norwegian singer Carolina Wallumrød, and her Magical Orchestra is just one man, Morten Qvenild. In 2006, they did a cover album entitled 'Melody Mountain'. With barely-there arrangements, Susanna's deep, lulling voice feels like the strongest instrument of emotion. She was able to bring something new to songs that has been covered by almost every artist on the planet, like 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' of Joy Division, or 'Hallelujah' of Leonard Cohen. I imagine this would be the kind of album that Lanette (of Desperate Housewives) listens to in the kitchen at night, when her husband and sons are all asleep upstairs (where that thought comes from, I don't know). Anyway, Susanna's solo album, "Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos", just came out in Scandinavia, by Grammofon (she's by far the most accessible artist on this label), and after listening to a sneak peek on Pitchfork, I believe this one will be quite magical, too.

Susanna & The Magic Orchestra - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Susanna & The Magic Orchestra - Hallelujah
Susanna - Home Recording


Essie Jain is a folk singer/songwriter in NYC, whose debut album 'We Made It Ourselves' was released earlier this year by Ba Da Bing, Beirut's label, and will make its way to Europe soon in January 2008, thanks to UK's Leaf Label. 'Glory' was the first song I heard from her, and so captivating it was that I immediately searched for her MySpace to learn more about her. Fans of My Brightest Diamond will love her for sure, if they're not a fan already. Quiet, lo-fi, sad chamber music for the lonely souls.

Essie Jain - Glory


The Innocence Mission is a band I just discovered this year, but one that made me wish I was a few years older, so that I could be old enough to live in the moment. They make music like it's still the nineties, which is definitely a positive thing. Karen Peris, the singer, has that bittersweet little-girl voice that might be able to move you to tears. I'm digging for more from their back catalogue, so a separate, more detailed post should surface soon. For now, enjoy her take on three classics, from the 2004 charity album 'Now The Day Is Over', featuring covers as lullbabies for little children. Nostalgic.

The Innocence Mission - Moon River
The Innocence Mission - What A Wonderful World
The Innocence Mission - Over The Rainbow

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