Saturday, May 17, 2003
"Waiflike," "sexy," "bad-ass" and "Sylvia Plath crossed with Betty Boop" have been used to describe lead singer Cynthia Hopkins, but we want to add bluesy, gutsy and torch-song cool. Brooklyn-based band Gloria Deluxe takes their version of alt-country twang and fuses it with cabaret antics, which creates a stage show that borders on performance art without ever sacrificing sharp, twisted lyrics and haunting melodies.
Billboard magazine has called Martha Redbone "a true original; the kind of artist who sets trends, as opposed to following them." Martha's music is a rich gumbo of soul, folk, funk and rock, reflecting her own rich Native and African American heritage. These songs are not your parent's funk - she creates sexy pop that grooves, with lyrics that tease the listener with the hope of getting into her head.
Hem's lush, romantic Americana balladry skillfully backs lead singer Sally Ellyson's Dido-esque voice with strings, pedal steel, mandolins, and even a glockenspiel to magnificent effect. Their influences are everything from traditional folk music to Joni Mitchell and the Cowboy Junkies, and their confidence to produce subtle yet sexy acoustic music has music lovers and critics fawning over them.
When Tom Burris' much buzzed-about band Jabbering Trout dissolved, one thing became very clear: as the sole songwriter and singer of the band he still had much to offer as a solo artist. Interestingly, this man from Utah is frequently compared to English greats like Elvis Costello, Dave Wakeling and Billy Bragg because of his ability to write topical folk songs with poppy melodies delivered with a very masculine energy.