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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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Marissa Nadler
Ballads Of Living And Dying

She's like a young Stevie Nicks, all doped up and duped to serve as Devendra Banhart's geisha. Nah, too strong for that. How 'bout Donovan reincarnated as Linda Ronstadt? Except instead of a '70s pop star, in this life she's Fairy Queen of the Muir Woods, a mythical creature spotted only by hippie chicks who dare to eat strange mushrooms and venture into the redwoods past nightfall. Or maybe she just sounds like a burnt-out Neko Case on a sad bender.

You'll have to forgive me — I woke up this morning feeling a wee bit simile. It's listening to this rare, ravishing recording, I think, that's done it. Marissa Nadler's music doesn't so much play from your speakers as it emanates. It's more subtle a sense than sound; her long, breathy tones hit like a smell, some nostalgic wisp that tickles the ol' factories, reminding you of past happenings you can't quite seem to remember. Or maybe ones you don't quite want to.

Her debut's entitled Ballads of Living and Dying, but it's more of that last part that awakened Marissa's muse. Seems lots of records are springing up from the graves right about now; Panda Bear's got one — hell, the Arcade Fire even named theirs Funeral. Nadler's debut slides nicely in that sarcophagus comp, bridging the gap between Reginé Chassagne's shrill soprano and Panda's minimal folk musings. These sepulchral ballads are built mostly upon a shaky guitar strum, a laboring four-part pick, a voice that drifts like chimney smoke.

Yes, that's the smell you were trying to remember! That of fresh-burning firewood, of the first drop in the mercury that scares up kindling, of graying skies and grayer eyes. It's the all-encompassing sense of winter, the sights and sounds and smells as October passes to November and then December, and Marissa Nadler captures it perfectly here: a shivering slide-guitar that sings its own song on "Fifty Five Falls," or the metallic ring of a banjo, its notes falling like snowflakes, ushering in the decidedly Case-esque "Days of Rum."

Every time her chilly instrumentation begins to bite, though, Nadler's voice wraps it up in a soft, safe blanket. It's the thing that'll keep you coming back to this, in the end; when you're longing for long days peering through glass panes, wrapping your hands around warm cocoa cups, smelling split cedar and smoldering oak, give the Fairy Queen a call. Devendra won't mind if you borrow her for a while.

by Noah Bonaparte

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