Monday, November 22, 2004
I'm kind of rushing today's post because I selfishly want to be the first mp3 blog to write about Alison Breitman. As far as I can tell, she has a much better-than-average chance of being a household name in a year or two.
I found out about her when she sent me an email, in which she refreshingly didn't claim to be a huge fan of my blog and didn't drop any names as influences. Her extremely minimal web page is here, and on first listen to the mp3s there, my take was that she was probably too mainstream to write about here. I wrote back and told her that I was kind of interested in hearing more, but couldn't guarantee that I'd write anything.
So, of course, I got her (self-released) CD in the mail last week and here it is Sunday evening and I've spent the past weekend emailing an mp3 of her song Heavy to everyone I know, and we're all kind of speculating on whether she's going to be the next...Bangles? Edie Brickell? Claire Hamill? Joni Mitchell? That Dog? Cat Power? Some other top-40 singer who I've never heard of? I really can't tell. Her CD The Game points promisingly in a bunch of different directions. It's produced well enough that you can enjoy it without apologies (and in fact, I've had it on pretty much constantly) but you can also hear where big-time production might take her, both for good and for bad.
Heavy is an obvious choice to post, but I'm still having trouble deciding on a second song. The mp3s at her website break down as:
Get In The Game - kind of Bangles-like circa Hero Takes A Fall. Check the bridge, especially. This track has grown on me a lot. It's a cute touch that while it starts with audience noise, it doesn't end with applause.
Unknowing - one of the more mainstream sounding songs, and not one of my favorites, though it's still pretty strong in the grand scheme of things.
Running Unsteady - comes from the same general place as Heavy. There's an Edie Brickell-sounding "la la la" section near the end that I wouldn't mind seeing snipped, but otherwise this is also fairly great.
I guess I'm going to go with Say Hello, because even though six-minute-long ballads are usually frowned on as far as hyping someone, it's the best showcase for how great her voice is (and to the somewhat thrilling way she manages to avoid any number of irritating vocal affectations that normally afflict people working this type of territory). Say Hello is also a fantastic song, assuming it makes it past your girl-folk firewall.
I'd especially like to get comments today. I'm aware that it's a long road from playing on Bleeker St. to the top 10, but I'm kind of excited about this CD. You can buy it from CDBaby here.
As part of my effort to not drop names that nobody knows: Claire Hamill (who I've posted about before) was an English Joni Mitchell type whose second record was an incredible folk-rock album called October. After that, she got picked up by Ray Davies of the Kinks who failed to make her a star on his Konk label, despite his promise to do so (which you can hear on the Kinks' BBC Sessions CD). My favorite track of hers is the first song from October, called Island, which might appeal to the Linda Perhacs fans in the audience.