Live: Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler has the voice of a siren, a voice that would tempt anyone into following it to ones own peril, having to reveal the beauty of its source. If I can describe her new album, “July” in one word it would be ethereal. And I mean that in regards to the way the songs seem to seamlessly ebb and flow from tracks you feel you would hear in a dream and the next, a nightmare. With the slightest change of tempo and rhythm of the songs, it’s hard to pinpoint which feeling Ms. Nadler was trying to get the listener to evoke, probably a little of both. The allure of her soft acoustic strokes, reverb-laden lyrics, and backup singers, who also play violin and cello, kept me enthralled and captivated through the entire album. The lyrics are reminiscent of American Gothic Poetry and Dark Romanticism.  The album is both beautiful and haunting, a tragically beautiful reminder of love gained, lost, and the faded memories of heartache. Though the album isn’t a complete downer, it does seem to have an overall uplifting approach to a heartache that most can relate to. I feel you will come away a bit more empowered over your past demons just as it seems Marissa Nadler has.

I had the chance to catch Marissa Nadler live at Mississippi Studio’s February 17th and her performance of a track titled, “Drive” was particularly captivating. The way Marissa and the back up singers can enthrall and entrance an audience was particularly impressive, as the whole venue seemed to be hanging on her every word. I have never been to a show so quiet in between songs, like a group of kindergarteners during story time, we all wanted to see how this would end, but hoping it never would. She sounded just as amazing in person if not more so, as in the studio. She even shed a tear at the end of one of her songs, the mark of a true artist.

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Marissa played along side Pure Bathing Culture that consists of the duo of Sarah Versprille (vocals, keyboards) and Daniel Hindman (guitars, bass, and keys). Though they are technically considered alternative, their sound is reminiscent of something you would hear on 80’s love station, and it’s amazing. A magically relaxed mix of Chillwave and Dream Pop, the band sounds and looks like they got stuck in 1986 and that is not a bad thing. They have so much fun being there they make you want to join in on the fun right along with them. Smooth reverb laced synth-pop, subtle dance beats, and unexpected drones this is a treat for almost anyone with two ears.

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Majical Cloudz

The latest from Majical Cloudz is called Impersonator. The sophomoric full length from this Canadian duo is a beautiful combination of ambient and electronic music. Fronted by a power piercing tenor voice, Majical Cloudz don’t use any kind of drum beat until the third song “Childhood’s End.” The album starts off with title track, “Impersonator.” A drone-y type of track with with a cool vocal loop that tracks all the way to the end. “This Is Magic” is the second song on the album. It starts off similar, with what sounds like organ chords that eventually lead to a ethereal type of synthesizer that builds up with the vocals. My favorite track off Majical Cloudz’s Impersonator album has to be “Bugs Don’t Buzz.” The piano chords really hammer the song into your head, and with opening lyrics “The cheesiest songs all end with a smile. This song won’t end with a smile, my love.” You can’t help but smile and feel piano crush down on you. Pick up a copy of Impersonator and you won’t be disappointed.

The Soft Moon + El Ten Eleven

Hi everyone, got some fantastic new instrumental music today. We’ll start it off with San Fransico band The Soft Moon. The sound that they produce is a darkly energetic trance of drone electronic music. Their newest full length Zeroes is full of anxiously driven guitar riffs and drum beats that keep pounding on your eardrums. It is such a great change of pace from what I have been listening to, it’s also great music to work out/ clean to. My favorite tracks are “Zeros” and “Insides.” Check it out below.

Now going in an opposite feel of instrumental electronic music is L.A. band El Ten Eleven. This duo has some of the best intricate and amazing looping that I’ve heard in a while. El Ten Eleven has a brand new full length album called Transitions. The album is so solid all the way through. It is so warm and pleasant that you drift through it for a little while, then the break down comes or there’s some sort of sweet new riff that is introduced, it makes you go woah that was cool. I really like the opening track titled “Transistions.” Check them out below then go buy their album and share with friends.

Back To The Music

Since last time I have updated there has been a lot of cool new stuff.

Male Bonding came out with their second full length album Endless Now. They have a great post-punk sound that is reminiscent of Blink-182. Stream it herefor free.

Purity Ring has put out a new single that is wicked awesome. They will be playing at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland next Thursday. Check out all their releases here.
Another up and coming band is Balam Acab. They just came out with their debut album Wander/Wonder. It is really beautiful, it is what chill wave is all about. Check out some of their older stuff here and listen to the single from it below.
Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks have also put out their latest full length album this month titled Mirror Traffic. Listen to it via NPR.