|Born||Washington D.C., United States|
|Origin||Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Folk, Dream pop, Ambient, American Gothic|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, musician, painter|
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, keyboards, banjo|
Box of Cedar Records
Marissa Nadler (born April 5, 1981) is an American dream-folk singer-songwriter based in Boston. Active since 2000, she's released a number of well-received studio albums, including Songs III: Bird on the Water (2007). Lyrically her music is introspective and has American Gothic themes, with the Boston Globe writing "She has...an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke."
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. As a teenager, she learned to play guitar in a style similar to cotton picking, playing a steady bass pattern with the thumb and filling out syncopated rhythms with the index finger. She studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design and was an art teacher in Harlem, New York for a short time.
While exploring artistic techniques such as illustration, painting, bookbinding, woodcarving and encaustic painting she also honed her songwriting craft. She subsequently recorded an album titled Autumn Rose, as well as another EP, neither of which has ever been released.
Marissa Nadler released her first album, Ballads of Living and Dying, on Eclipse Records in 2004; her follow-up, The Saga of Mayflower May, was released in July 2005. Both records were distributed in the United States by Eclipse Records, and by the UK label Beautiful Happiness in Europe. She has credited Eclipse Records' Ed Hardy with helping bring her into the musical world.
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. 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" in the 2008 Boston Music Awards, with three nominations altogether.
Her fourth full-length record, Little Hells, was released March 3, 2009. receiving praise from many critics. including 4 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.
On June 14, 2011, an eponymous record was released worldwide on Nadler's own label, Box of Cedar Records.The song "Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning" was released as a free download on March 8th, with a music video for the song subsequently released. The album was positively received by Pitchfork, which gave it 8.1/10, and it was called "a stellar collection of sullen melodies and lovelorn anecdotes akin to those of Joni Mitchell."
Singing in a mezzo-soprano, the foundation of her songs are her acoustic guitar, often accompanied by a variety of instruments and an 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, and Leonard Cohen. Other influences include Dirty Three, Sammi Smith, Tammy Wynette, and Townes Van Zandt.
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." The Boston Globe wrote "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."
- Lyrical content
Music critics describe Nadler's songs as having American Gothic leanings; her stories often take place in an imagined, idealistic time with a cast of original characters and introspective themes of loneliness and grief. Her characters sometimes recur, even across multiple albums. Such examples include "Mayflower May", a self-professed alter-ego, and her links to American Gothic are reinforced by "Annabelle Lee," the last song on her debut album Ballads of Living and Dying. The song puts the poem of the same title by Edgar Allan Poe to a musical backing. Later in her career Nadler revealed the characters are based on real people, and their real lives.
- 2004: Ballads of Living and Dying (Eclipse Records)
- 2005: The Saga of Mayflower May (Eclipse Records)
- 2005: Four-Track Recordings, Outtakes
- 2007: Ivy and the Clovers (promo CD sold on tour)
- 2007: Songs III: Bird on the Water (Kemado Records)
- 2009: Little Hells (Kemado Records)
- 2011: Marissa Nadler (Box of Cedar Records)
- 2012: The Sister (Box of Cedar Records)
- 2006: "Diamond Heart"/"Leather Made Shoes"
- 2007: "Diamond Heart"/"Dying Breed"
- 2007: "Bird on Your Grave" (music video only)
- Marissa Nadler at Allmusic, Ballads of Living and Dying
- Reed, James (September 15, 2006). "Through music, she builds her own myth". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- Marissa Nadler at Allmusic, The Saga of Mayflower May
- Marissa Nadler at Allmusic, Songs III: Bird on the Water
- Kourtesis, Danielle (February 20, 2009). "Marissa Nadler’s Haunting Little Hells". Flavorwire.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- Sinclair, Scott (March 20, 2009). "Marissa Nadler • Little Hells". Wears the Trousers. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- Currin, Grayson (2009). "Little Hells Album Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "New addition- Marissa Nadler". Nocturnal Poisoning (formerly Xasthur). September 30, 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Marissa Nadler announces new release on her label Box of Cedar Records". Band Weblogs. 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- "Marissa Nadler’s new video « Staff Blog". Sputnikmusic. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- "Marissa Nadler Album Review". Pitchfork Media. 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "Marissa Nadler: The Sister". PasteMagazine.com. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Pelly, Jenn (January 25, 2012). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- "The ‘Gum Drop LXXII: Hear New Marissa Nadler, Win A Nokia N96: Interview". Stereogum. January 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
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