Album Review: Tangled Web of Cool by Martinique Walker

Album Name: Tangled Web of Cool
Artist: Martinique Walker
Year/Label: 2001 / Independent

Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Canadian singer Martinique Walker has a strong, agile voice. It makes her songs shine more strongly.

Her album “Tangled Web of Cool” has a complex, jazzy feel and some hummable tunes.

The opening “You had no Right” is powerful without needing to resort to pointless bombast. The same quiet authority is present throughout the album.

Another great song is “Honest Cecile” an effective tale of a fractured friendship.

Walkers talent is obvious and she should go far.

Posted on March 30, 2001

Track Listing
Listen to track samples
1. You Had No Right
2. Tangled Web of Cool
3. You Do
4. The River Turns
5. My Other Life
6. Shadows of Time
7. In the Café
8. Honest Cecile
9. So Hard to Love
10. Mother

[Martinique Walker Official Site]

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Album Review:Silver Drops by The Breath of Life

Album Name: Silver Drops
Artist: The Breath of Life
Year/Label: 2001 / Hall of Sermon

[Buy at Amazon]
[Buy at Hall of Sermon]

Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

This cd has a sound akin to early Bel Canto or Cocteau Twins. Isabelle Dekeyser’s pure voice floats atop oceans of reverb.

Breath of Life have been playing together for a long time and it shows in their mastery of the heavenly melodies of the songs. The final epic track Deep Blue Land is especially gripping. The airy nature of this cd makes it ideal to soundtrack a lazy sunday afternoon.

Posted on March 26, 2001

Track Listing
1. Caligan
2. Silver Sky
3. Tower
4. Blooming Sky
5. Cold Lights
6. The Valley
7. Her World
8. Falling Drops
9. Around You
10. Deep Mystery
11. Deep Blue Land

[The Breath of Life Official Site]

Album Review: Screwing Lies by Katy Carr

Album Name: Screwing Lies
Artist: Katy Carr
Year/Label: 2001 / Madame de Luce

[Buy at Amazon UK]

Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

English singer Katy Carr makes a potent brew of folk and rock. Her refreshingly theatrical approach makes this a good debut.

Vocally she has some of PJ Harvey’s power and Kate Bush’s sensuality.

The whimsical “Marmalade Duke” is a welcome contrast to more abrasive songs like “Knickers” in which Carr sings:

“You’ve pulled my knickers off
and left me by the kitchen sink”.

The balance between light and dark is what makes “Screwing Lies” so strong.

Carr is an interesting new voice.

Posted on March 21, 2001

Track Listing

1.Ramble my Rose (i)
2. Push
3. Screwing Lies
4. Shine
5. Moscow Child
6. Black Widow
7. Knickers
8. Flower Shark
9. Marmalade Duke
10. Ramble my Rose(ii)

[Katy Carr Official Site]

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Album Review: Feathermerchants by Feathermerchants

Album Name: Feathermerchants
Artist: Feathermerchants
Year/Label: 1999 / Innocent 12th St

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Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Feathermerchants have two exeptional singers in Erin O’Hara and Alison Winston. The music is clearly folk in nature and has middle eastern influences as well.

On the track “Runaway” for instance great use is made of Moroccan vocalist Hassan Hakmoun. His wailing voice and the sweet tunes of Erin O’Hara blend beautifully. Another good track is the lovely “Water and Dreams”.

The whole cd is a success and belongs to no particular genre but its own. Those who seek something different should investigate.

Posted on March 13, 2001

Track Listing
Listen to track samples
1. Ludlow St.
2. Runaway
3. Water and Dreams 4. All Shook Up
5. Black Dog Smile
6. Jazz America
7. Syracuse
8. Best Regards
9. Confusion
10. Crazy Girl
11. The Poet
12. Strange

[Feathermerchants Official Site]

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Album Review: Eleven Eleven by Regina Spektor

Album Name: Eleven Eleven
Artist: Regina Spektor
Year/Label: 2001 / Independent

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Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

I first heard of Regina Spektor when Anna Maria Stjarnell did a review of her CD, “Songs” for this site. It intrigued me so I went to CD Baby to listen for myself. My first thought was ‘this girl is odd’ my next was that I wanted to hear more. At that time her CD “Songs” was sold out but I saw that she had another CD, this one, “11:11” so I snapped it up. Upon first listen it grabbed me and I’ve been listening to it almost non-stop since.

Regina is really hard to describe. She’s jazz, blues, pop, rock and I don’t know what else. Her voice is clear and strong and gutsy. It swoops, soars and screams. The songs are well written, funky, catchy and impossible to get out of your head.

From the first few piano notes of “Love Affair” you are hooked. The simple production really works for her. It’s raw, emotional and you can hear every little bit of her music and her vocals.

The CD continues with strong percussion whether it is bass or drums and her amazing voice with its large range.

“Marry Ann” is consists of the slapping of a stand up bass and her jazzy vocals She sings of porcupine love (“so stiff and stuck and prickly/he came in and then back out quickly”) then Marry Ann’s her thoughts of murder (“Ms Marry Ann preferred her meat to be freshly butchered/oh she killed him rather quickly man that woman was truly sickly”). It’s a great track that ends in a sneeze. (sounds weird, I know, but you’ve got to hear it).

“Pavlov’s daughter” is a work of art. She scats, she soars, she sighs. It’s got several movements that a lesser songwriter might have made into a bunch of different songs but Spektor puts them all together to make one incredible piece.

“Braille” is a beautiful piano ballad.

“Wasteside” could have been on a Norah Jones CD (If Norah were a little cooler that is)

“I Want to Sing” is an a capella piece that showcases her jazzy vocal abilities.

If you’re looking for something completely different and fabulous, check out Regina Spektor.

Posted on March 9, 2003

Track Listing
1. Love affair
2. rejazz
3. Back of a truck
4. Buildings
5. Marry Ann
6. flyin
7. wasteside
8. Pavlov’s Daughter
9. 2.99 cent Blues
10. Braille
11. I want to sing
12. Sunshine
13. Wasteside

[Regina Spektor Official Site]

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Album Review: Sleep Now Forever by Sorrow

Album Name: Sleep Now Forever
Artist: Sorrow
Year/Label: 2001 / World Serpent

[Buy at Amazon]

Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Do you remember Strawberry Switchblade? They were a slightly quirky pop duo who did some great songs in the 80’s.

Rose McDowall has kept busy since and Sorrow is her latest project. The group also includes Robert Lee.

Musically Sorrow are solemn and folk influenced. Mc Dowall’s voice has retained its sweetness, but has grown stronger with the years.

This is a mesmerizing and thrilling record that has a timeless air about it.

Posted on March 5, 2001

Track Listing
1. Soldier
2. Love Dies
3. Turn Off The Light
4. Haunting
5. Fear Becomes You
6. October Faul
7. Wishing Stone
8. Nomadic Man
9. Epiphany
10. Angel
11. Sleep Now Forever

[Sorrow Official Site]