Marissa Nadler

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Marissa Nadler
Marissa Nadler
Marissa Nadler in 2011
Background information
Born (1981-04-05) April 5, 1981 (age 33)
Washington D.C., United States
Origin Massachusetts, United States
Genres Folk, dream pop, ambient
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, painter
Instruments Guitar, piano, keyboards, banjo
Years active 2000–present
Labels Sacred Bones, Bella Union, Box of Cedar, Kemado, Eclipse
Associated acts Randall Dunn, Xasthur
Website www.marissanadler.com

Marissa Rachael Nadler (born April 5, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter based in Boston. Active since 2000, she has released a number of studio albums. She is currently signed to Sacred Bones Records and Bella Union, and released her sixth full-length studio album July in early February 2014.[1] Lyrically her music has American Gothic themes as well as personal and introspective elements. The narrative aspects of her songs often span a number of albums in a style often described as "dream folk".[2]

Early life[edit]

Marissa Nadler was born on April 5, 1981 and raised in Massachusetts. She was exposed to art at a young age through her mother Pamela, an abstract painter, and her older brother Stuart, a writer who also played guitar.[2] As a teenager, she taught herself to play guitar in a style similar to fingerpicking, playing a steady bass pattern with the thumb and filling out syncopated rhythms with the index finger.[3] It was described as having an "unorthodox, dusky sound".[2] At the age of 15, she began to write her first songs, and recorded a number of them in a New Hampshire studio. At this stage she considered music as "kind of a hobby".[2]

She studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design, where she obtained a bachelor's degree in illustration in 2003, and a master's degree a year later.[4][5] During her studies, she began to perform at open mic events around Providence. After graduating, Nadler worked as an art teacher in Harlem, New York for a short time.[3]

While exploring artistic techniques such as illustration, painting, bookbinding, woodcarving and encaustic painting she also honed her songwriting craft.[3] During her studies, Nadler met the musician Myles Baer. Baer helped her record the songs she had been performing and joined her in some live performances. The two eventually became romantically involved.[2] She subsequently recorded an album titled Autumn Rose (2002) as well as the four-track EP Somber Ghost Recordings (2003), neither of which have ever been released.[6]

Music career[edit]

Nadler released her first official album, Ballads of Living and Dying, on Eclipse Records in January 2004.[7] The follow-up, The Saga of Mayflower May, inspired by her breakup with Baer, was released in July 2005.[2] Both records were distributed in the United States by Eclipse Records, and by the UK label Beautiful Happiness in Europe.[8]

Nadler released her third record, Songs III: Bird on the Water, on Peacefrog Records in Europe on March 12, 2007. The album was released in the US and Canada on August 12, 2007 by Kemado Records.[9] It was nominated for two PLUG Awards in 2008: "Best Female Artist of the Year" and "Best Americana Record of the Year." Nadler also won "Outstanding Singer-Songwriter of the Year" at the 2008 Boston Music Awards, with three nominations altogether.[citation needed]

Her fourth full-length record, Little Hells, was released March 3, 2009.[10] receiving praise from many critics.[11] including four-star reviews from magazines such as Mojo, Rolling Stone in France and Germany, Uncut Magazine, and Q Magazine. It received an 8.3 from Pitchfork.[12] The album departed from the earlier folk-based template with the introduction of electronic elements.[2]

In early 2010, she contributed backing vocals to Portal of Sorrow, the final album by black metal project Xasthur.[13]

On June 14, 2011, an eponymous record was released worldwide on Nadler's own label, Box of Cedar Records.[14] The song "Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning" was released as a free download on March 8, followed by a subsequent music video.[15] The album was positively received by Pitchfork, which gave it 8.1/10,[16] and it was called "a stellar collection of sullen melodies and lovelorn anecdotes akin to those of Joni Mitchell."[17]

On May 29, 2012, she released The Sister, a short eight-song "companion" album to Marissa Nadler.[18] The album was dubbed by Paste Magazine an "impressive concoction of stark minimalism."[17] In this period, Nadler briefly returned to part-time teaching special needs children in the Boston area, explaining that she wanted "to keep busy and help people with my time".[2]

In 2013,[19] she signed to Brooklyn-based Sacred Bones Records.[20] Her album July was released on the label on February 4, 2014[21] and February 10 through Bella Union in the UK.[1] It was recorded at Seattle’s Avast Studios,[22] July and produced by Randall Dunn. The first single from the album, "Dead City Emily," was released in November 2013[19] and positively received by Stereogum as an “ethereal spine-tingler”[23] and by Brooklyn Vegan as “a track as haunting and delicate as any of her best tracks to date.”[19]

Musical style[edit]

Singing in a mezzo-soprano, the foundation of her songs is her acoustic guitar, often accompanied by a variety of instruments and ambient, reverb-laden production. She has been known to play in open tunings on several songs. Her influences include John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Patti Smith, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen, Dirty Three, Sammi Smith, Tammy Wynette and Townes Van Zandt. In an interview with What Weekly magazine, she said of Van Zandt: "Yeah, I love him, he’s one of my favorite songwriters. I’m really glad that posthumously he’s getting the recognition that he deserved during his lifetime."[24]

Vocals

Nadler has received wide acclaim for her vocals. The Boston Globe wrote, "She has...an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke."[3]. Her voice was described by Pitchfork as "a voice you would follow straight into Hades", and also "textured and angelic, with just a hint of pain captured within her iridescent falsetto."[17] The Boston Globe said, "She has a voice that, in mythological times, could have lured men to their deaths at sea, an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke. Hardly anyone considers Nadler a folk musician."[3]

Lyrical content

She has referenced poets such as Edgar Allan Poe in her music,[7] and has revealed that the characters and scenarios in her lyrics are often based on her real experiences.[25]

Discography[edit]

Studio Albums[edit]

Compilation Albums[edit]

  • 2005: Four-Track Recordings, Outtakes (no label)
  • 2010: Little Hells: Acoustic Demos (self-released)
  • 2010: Various Covers Over the Years (self-released)
  • 2011: Covers Volume II (self-released)
  • 2012: S/T Demos (self-released)

Singles[edit]

  • 2006: "Diamond Heart"/"Leather Made Shoes" 7" (My Kung Fu)
  • 2007: "Diamond Heart"/"Dying Breed" 7" (Peacefrog Records)
  • 2009: "River of Dirt" CD (Kemado Records)
  • 2013: "Dead City Emily" digital-only (Sacred Bones Records)

Compilation Appearances[edit]

  • 2003: "Ballad to an Amber Lady" on For the Dead in Space - Volumes II & III (Secret Eye Records)
  • 2005: "Ms John Lee" on New Skin for the Old Ceremony: The Polyamory Nine Year Anniversary Compilation (Polyamory)
  • 2006: "Your Dreary Days Are Dead" on Talitres Is 5 (Talitres Records)
  • 2006: "Judgement Day" on Not Alone (Durtro/Jnana Records)
  • 2007: "Clowne Towne" on Remixed & Covered (5 Rue Christine)
  • 2008: "No Surprises" on Reprises Inrocks (Les Inrockuptibles)
  • 2008: "Lonesome" on Brainwaves 2008 (Brainwashed Recordings)
  • 2009: "The Kiss" on Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill (American Dust)
  • 2009: "All My Trials" on Beautiful Star: The Songs of Odetta (Wears The Trousers Records)
  • 2009: "Famous Blue Raincoat" on Cohen Revisited (A Tribute to Leonard Cohen) (Les Inrockuptibles)
  • 2010: "Daisy, Where Did You Go?" on Yuletide (Disco Naïveté)
  • 2011: "Dead Birds in Arkansaw" on Music & Migration II (Second Language)
  • 2011: "The Killing Moon" on Free Music Impulse (Hybryda)
  • 2012: "The Breaking" on For Lee Jackson in Space (no label)
  • 2013: "You've Got It All Wrong" on For Tom Carter (Deserted Village)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Minsker, Evan (November 11, 2013). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album July, Shares "Dead City Emily"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Popmatters interview" Erin Lyndal Martin, 'Alabaster Queen: An Interview with Marissa Nadler', Pop Matters', 29 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e Reed, James (September 15, 2006). "Through music, she builds her own myth". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  4. ^ [1] Linkedin entry
  5. ^ [2] Portfolio on the RSID website showcasing her artwork.
  6. ^ 'Alarm interview' Lauren Zens, 'Q&A: Marissa Nadler', Alarm, August 25, 2011
  7. ^ a b Marissa Nadler at AllMusic, Ballads of Living and Dying
  8. ^ Marissa Nadler at AllMusic, The Saga of Mayflower May
  9. ^ Marissa Nadler at AllMusic, Songs III: Bird on the Water
  10. ^ Kourtesis, Danielle (February 20, 2009). "Marissa Nadler’s Haunting Little Hells". Flavorwire.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  11. ^ Sinclair, Scott (March 20, 2009). "Marissa Nadler • Little Hells". Wears the Trousers. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  12. ^ Currin, Grayson (2009). "Little Hells Album Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  13. ^ "New addition- Marissa Nadler". Nocturnal Poisoning (formerly Xasthur). September 30, 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  14. ^ "Marissa Nadler announces new release on her label Box of Cedar Records". Band Weblogs. 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Marissa Nadler’s new video « Staff Blog". Sputnikmusic. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  16. ^ "Marissa Nadler Album Review". Pitchfork Media. 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  17. ^ a b c "Marissa Nadler: The Sister". PasteMagazine.com. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  18. ^ Pelly, Jenn (January 25, 2012). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  19. ^ a b c Sacher, Andrew (2013). "Marissa Nadler releasing new LP on Sacred Bones, appearing on new Emily Jane White LP, playing Rough Trade". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  20. ^ "Case Studies - This Is Another Life". Sacred Bones Records. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  21. ^ "Marissa Nadler’s July to arrive via Sacred Bones in February". Timothy (Ander). November 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  22. ^ Dahlberg, Chris (November 11, 2013). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album on Sacred Bones/Bella Union". CosmoGaming. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  23. ^ DeVille, Chris (November 11, 2013). "Marissa Nadler – "Dead City Emily"". Stereogum. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  24. ^ http://whatweekly.com/2014/03/12/marissa-nadler-interview/
  25. ^ "The ‘Gum Drop LXXII: Hear New Marissa Nadler, Win A Nokia N96: Interview". Stereogum. January 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 

External links[edit]