Marissa Nadler talks about her beautiful new album ‘July’...

We are just a third of the way through 2014 and already we have been treated to potentially this year’s most beautiful album. July by Marissa Nadler is a lush and dreamy exploration of regret, loss and yearning, a collection of songs of shivering, ghost-like beauty. Over the course of the last 10 years, Nadler has been honing her craft as a songwriter to the point where it feels like July is her most mature, fully realised and accomplished record to date. We caught up with her just after the announcement of a Dublin show on the 5th September in the Button Factory. First off, congratulations on the new album Marissa – it’s a really gorgeous record, one of the very best of 2014 so far. You must be immensely satisfied with the response to it? Thank you! That’s very nice of you to say. I’m very happy with the reception of the record so far. There are few things more satisfying than sticking to something for as long as I have and then feeling this kind of reward back. July feels like a giant leap forward for you both sonically and thematically. It is really beautifully produced and arranged and it feels like your most personal record to date. It’s absolutely my most personal record. When I was much younger, trying to write songs about life with any weight felt a lot like dress-up. So, in my early records, I tended to deal more with surreal imagery and fictional storytelling that were informed, but not entirely, by real life. I feel that I just have more real life experience and more grit from which to draw inspiration now. I think it’s just a natural progression for me as a writer, now that I...

Marissa Nadler – July...

An album titled July might offer the promise of songs bathed in the warm and golden light of summer but there is something darker at work on this 6th album from Boston based singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler. Nadler has been making eerie, ethereal folk music since the release of her first album back in 2004. July represents a major progression and is by some distance her strongest album to date. This is a delicately rendered collection of Southern Gothic lullabies; Nadler explores themes of lost love, separation and the longing for things we can never have. It is at times breathtakingly beautiful -opener ‘Drive’ introduces us to Marissa Nadler’s bewitching voice; imagine the yearning of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval crossed with the sombre elegance of Leonard Cohen. That yearning is central to so many of the songs here; ‘1923’ burns with longing while ‘Dead City Emily’ floats by, a dreamy wistful reverie for the past. There is a strong alt-country influence in the plucked acoustic and pedal steel guitar arrangements that give this album an air of refinement that wasn’t as evident on the more straight ahead Goth Folk of her early records. Impeccably produced, each instrument occupies its own clearly defined space with Nadler’s beautiful voice pushed up high in the mix as a voice as richly compelling as hers should be. The dark sensuality of tracks like ‘Desire’ and ‘Holiday In’ brings to the fore another side to Nadler – this is music that seduces and allures. Spectral harmonies and dreamy elegance lure you in but just below the surface beats a blackened heart; there is a baleful and sinister undercurrent that something is not quite right. Like the most beautiful rose with the sharpest thorns, July is an album of exquisite gorgeousness...

Chelsea Wolfe – Pain Is Beauty...

Dark Star Rising: Sacramento born singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe delivers on the promise of her last two albums in some style on the epic Pain Is Beauty.

Dead Can Dance – Anastasis...

Formed in 1981, Dead Can Dance were one of the flagship bands for seminal record label 4AD, a label that made a huge contribution to the independent music scene throughout the eighties and nineties. Home to such influential artists as the Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Throwing Muses and the Breeders, 4AD quickly acquired a reputation for being a record company with a certain classy distinctiveness; the visually striking album sleeve artwork of in-house designer Vaughan Oliver and their commitment to the ideal that a record was something more than a piece of vinyl set them apart from the crowd. Dead Can Dance fitted in perfectly with the 4AD aesthetic. Their early work was strikingly unique –singer Lisa Gerrard’s shrieking banshee wail set against a backdrop of mysterious, ethereal quasi-Goth complimented the emerging 4AD identity at the time. Anastasis is very much their comeback album –their first since Dreamchaser in 1996 and their subsequent split in 1998. Their sound has evolved since those early 4AD releases – gone are the more glaring Goth leanings to be replaced by a more exotic, lushly produced tour of World Music, drawing on Greek, Egyptian & Middle Eastern influences. It is all very pompous and po-faced  – on songs like ‘Kiko’, you could be listening to something off the soundtrack to movies like ‘The Mummy’ or some New Age documentary.  Opening track ‘Children of the Sun’ contains the kind of lyrical mumbo jumbo that is so hard to take seriously –‘We are the children of the sun, Our journey’s just begun, Sunflowers in our hair..” ‘Anabasis’ is all snaking Egyptian mysticism but whether you will like this album or not, really hinges on one thing –can you buy into the New Age melodrama that permeates every single note of this...