[Forgive any spelling errors (if I missed something). I was up half the night with an annoying almost-two-year-old.]
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(Thanks to BT reader J.M., my Canadian musical consultant, for pointing me in the direction of this artist.)
I don’t feature enough female singers. I have a straight woman’s bias towards my indie rock — I like to hear those pretty boys wailing away about lost love and whatnot. So let me remedy here by mentioning Amy Millan.
Ms. Millan is a Canadian darling, of course, what with those other little bands she happens to be part of (Broken Social Scene and Stars). Those crazy kids, what will they think of next? Well, the new trend seems to be releasing a solo album … blah blah blah Jenny Lewis blah blah blah. Let’s get our inevitable comparisons out of the way.
I didn’t like “Rabbit Fur Coat” for two reasons — the first is, Lewis’s voice sounded so thin that I spent most of every song wondering if it was gonna crack. The second reason was, outside of “Handle With Care,” all the songs blended into each other in an orgy of perfect sameness. I found it excessively boring, like she just stripped all the good Rilo Kileyness away and then we were left with … Rilo Lite.
“Honey From the Tombs” is much more solid. Millan’s voice has a real bluesy tinge to it, and she had the smarts to add a wonderful bluegrass band as backup. The music also doesn’t sound like Stars or BSS, which is a bonus, because a solo ought to be a solo … something different from what you did in your band, right? Or what’s the point?
Millan has a great turn of phrase; the guitar pickin’ is pretty fantastic; and there’s a, dare I say non-Canadian, sense of ambience. One can definitely imagine her singing these songs in a Texas country bar, backed by fuzzy red light, while a burly guy with “Lucinda” tattooed on his arm sobs manfully into his pint of Miller. Or maybe it is Canadian, and it’s a bar in Toronto, and the burly guy is drinking Labatt’s. He’s still sobbing, believe me.
[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you'd like a copy.]
Amy Millan – Skinny Boy
Amy Millan – Ruby II
Amy Millan – Losin’ You
Tags: amy millan