Marissa Nadler

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Marissa Nadler
Marissa Nadler
Marissa Nadler in 2011
Background information
Born (1981-04-05) April 5, 1981 (age 36)
Washington D.C., United States
Origin Massachusetts, United States
Genres Folk, indie rock, dream pop, ambient, Americana, goth, black metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, fine artist
Instruments Guitar, piano, keyboards
Years active 2000–present
Labels Eclipse, Beautiful Happiness, Peacefrog, Kemado, Box of Cedar, Sacred Bones, Bella Union

Marissa Nadler (born April 5, 1981)[1] is an American musician and fine artist based in Boston, Massachusetts. Active since 2000, she is currently signed to Sacred Bones Records and Bella Union, and released her seventh full-length studio album, Strangers, in May 2016.[2] As a singer-songwriter, her music defies simple classification. Her work "is rooted in old-school country and folk but brings in elements of experimental and black metal".[3] Sometimes the term "dream folk" has been invoked to describe her work[4].

Singing in a mezzo-soprano, Nadler has received acclaim for her vocals. Her voice was described by Pitchfork as one "you would follow straight into Hades", and also "textured and angelic, with just a hint of pain captured within her iridescent falsetto".[5] 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".[6]

Early life[edit]

Marissa Nadler was born and raised in Massachusetts. 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.[6] It was described as having an "unorthodox, dusky sound".[7] Also while in her teens, she began to write songs as a hobby.[7]

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 in art education a year later. During her studies, she began to perform at open mic events around Providence. While exploring artistic techniques such as illustration, painting, bookbinding, woodcarving and encaustic painting, she also honed her songwriting craft.[6] 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.[8] Nadler also contributed to the Pearl Before Swine tribute album For the Dead in Space - Volumes II & III in 2003.[9]

Music career[edit]

2004–2010: First releases[edit]

Nadler released her first official album, Ballads of Living and Dying, on Eclipse Records in January 2004.[10] The follow-up The Saga of Mayflower May was released in July 2005.[7] Both records were distributed in the United States by Eclipse, and by the UK label Beautiful Happiness in Europe.[11]

Nadler went on some of her first tours with acts such as the late American Primitive guitarist Jack Rose and the drone metal band Earth.[12]

Nadler released her third studio album, Songs III: Bird on the Water, on Peacefrog Records in Europe on March 12, 2007. The album was recorded and produced by Greg Weeks of the band Espers in Philadelphia. and subsequently released in the US and Canada on August 12, 2007 by Kemado Records.[13] It was nominated for two PLUG Independent Music 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 album, Little Hells, produced by Chris Coady, was released on March 3, 2009[14] and received praise from many critics.[15] including 4-star reviews from magazines such as Mojo, Rolling Stone in France and Germany, Uncut, and Q. It received an 8.3 from Pitchfork.[16] The album departed from the earlier folk-based template with the introduction of electronic elements.[7] In early 2010, Nadler contributed vocals on Portal of Sorrow, the final album by black metal project Xasthur.[17]

2011–2012: Marissa Nadler and The Sister[edit]

On June 14, 2011, an eponymous record was released worldwide on Nadler's own label, Box of Cedar Records.[18] 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.[19] The album was positively received by Pitchfork, which gave it 8.1 out of 10,[20] and it was called "a stellar collection of sullen melodies and lovelorn anecdotes akin to those of Joni Mitchell".[5]

On May 29, 2012, she released The Sister, a short eight-song "companion" album to Marissa Nadler.[21] The album was dubbed by Paste as an "impressive concoction of stark minimalism".[5]

In November 2012, Nadler collaborated with Angel Olsen on two cover songs that were shared on Nadler's SoundCloud page: the Richard and Linda Thompson song "My Dreams Have Withered and Died" and the Mickey Newbury song "Frisco Depot".[22]

2013–2014: Sacred Bones Records and July[edit]

"July is moon music, quiet music, slurp-merlot-in-the-fetal-position music, a slow-burning tapestry of goth-folk torch songs and woozy-pop incantations about love and loss and memory, whispered by the same spirits as Julee Cruise's airy Twin Peaks vocals."

In 2013,[24] she signed to Brooklyn-based Sacred Bones Records.[25] Her album July was released by the label on February 4, 2014[26] and on February 10 by Bella Union in the UK.[27] It was recorded at Seattle's Avast Studios,[28] and produced by collaborator Randall Dunn.[29] The first single from the album, "Dead City Emily", was released in November 2013[24] and positively received by Stereogum as an "ethereal spine-tingler"[30] and by BrooklynVegan as "a track as haunting and delicate as any of her best tracks to date".[24] July debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard Folk Albums chart and No. 14 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums chart.[31][32]

July received mostly positive feedback from music critics. At Metacritic, it received "universal acclaim",[33] and July received a score of 4 out of 5 from the majority of music publications, among them NME,[34] Drowned in Sound,[35] Blurt[36] and Pop Matters,[37] In a positive review, Pop Matters called the album a "triumph" and "one of 2014's best albums so far",[37] while Spin called it a "masterfully composed release".[23] Vice Media's Noisey website discussed the atmosphere of the album, writing that "the darkly lit July is a moody trip through heat spells and night drives... Nadler's quiet songwriting and ethereal sound give July a sound that's, at times, almost sinister".[38] Steven Rosen of Blurt wrote that Nadler managed to achieve an "almost-hallucinatory effect out of her singing, often multi-tracking the voice to create a ghostly pillowing effect".[36]

In July 2014, Nadler collaborated with Father John Misty, releasing a split 7" on Bella Union.[39] Father John Misty covered Nadler's "Drive", while Nadler covered "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings".[40]

2015–2016: Strangers[edit]

The album Strangers, recorded with producer Dunn in 2015, was released on May 20, 2016 on Sacred Bones and Bella Union.[41] A limited edition version with original artwork included a pre-release cassette of Bury Your Name.[42]

The album release was accompanied by an extensive tour of North America and Europe. In late 2016, Nadler joined Ghost for the US tour.

Strangers was listed on several lists of 2016's best albums to date, including Spin,[43] Newsweek,[44] Uncut[45] and The Quietus.[46] Spin also listed "Janie in Love" as one of the best songs of 2016 so far.[47]

During this period, Nadler directed and animated music videos for Strangers tracks "Janie in Love"[48] and "All the Colors of the Dark",[49] as well as "Blood and Tears",[50] a Danzig cover she had self-released as a digital-only single for Halloween 2015.[51] In late September 2016, a video for the Strangers song "Dissolve", featuring both animation and live performance, was released on[52]


Studio albums[edit]

Self-released albums[edit]

  • Four-Track Recordings, Outtakes (2005)
  • Ivy and the Clovers (2007)
  • Little Hells: Acoustic Demos (2010)
  • Various Covers Over the Years (2010)
  • Covers Volume II (2011)
  • S/T Demos (2012)
  • Bury Your Name (2016)


  • The Sister (2012, Box of Cedar Records)
  • Before July: Demos and Unreleased Songs (2014, Box of Cedar Records)


  • "Diamond Heart"/"Leather Made Shoes" 7" (2006, My Kung Fu)
  • "Diamond Heart"/"Dying Breed" 7" (2007, Peacefrog Records)
  • "River of Dirt" CD (2009, Kemado Records)
  • "Dead City Emily" digital-only (2013, Sacred Bones Records)
  • "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings"/"Drive" 7" (2014, Bella Union) (split single with Father John Misty)
  • "Solitude" (Black Sabbath cover) digital-only (2015, self-released)
  • "Blood and Tears" (Danzig cover) digital-only (2015, self-released)
  • "Janie in Love" digital-only (2016, Sacred Bones Records)
  • "All the Colors of the Dark" digital-only (2016, Sacred Bones Records)

Guest appearances[edit]

Compilation appearances[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of compilation albums that include tracks by Nadler.

  • "Ballad to an Amber Lady" (Pearl Before Swine cover) on For the Dead in Space – Volumes II & III (2003, Secret Eye Records)
  • "Ms John Lee" on New Skin for the Old Ceremony: The Polyamory Nine Year Anniversary Compilation (2005, Polyamory)
  • "Your Dreary Days Are Dead" on Talitres Is 5 (2006, Talitres Records)
  • "Judgement Day" on Not Alone (2006, Durtro/Jnana Records)
  • "Clowne Towne" (Xiu Xiu cover) on Remixed & Covered (2007, 5 Rue Christine)
  • "No Surprises" (Radiohead cover) on Reprises Inrocks (2008, Les Inrockuptibles)
  • "Lonesome" on Brainwaves 2008 (2008, Brainwashed Recordings)
  • "The Kiss" (Judee Sill cover) on Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill (2009, American Dust)
  • "All My Trials" on Beautiful Star: The Songs of Odetta (2009, Wears the Trousers Records)
  • "Famous Blue Raincoat" (Leonard Cohen cover) on Cohen Revisited (A Tribute to Leonard Cohen) (2009, Les Inrockuptibles)
  • "Daisy, Where Did You Go?" on Yuletide (2010, Disco Naïveté)
  • "Dead Birds in Arkansas" on Music & Migration II (2011, Second Language)
  • "The Killing Moon" (Echo and the Bunnymen cover) on Free Music Impulse (2011, Hybryda)
  • "The Breaking" on For Lee Jackson in Space (2012, no label)
  • "You've Got It All Wrong" on For Tom Carter (2013, Deserted Village)
  • "Half as Much" on You Be My Heart (2013, Devon Reed)
  • "It's Easier Now" (Jason Molina cover) on Through The Static and Distance: The Songs of Jason Molina (2015, Burst & Bloom)
  • "The Kindness of Strangers" on Todo Muere Volume 4 (2016, Sacred Bones)
  • "So Long And Far Away" (Karen Dalton cover) on Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton (2016, Tompkins Square)
  • "Carnival" on One Hundred Thousand Voices (2016, Active Minds, Inc.)
  • "Rosemary" on Our First 100 Days (2017, Our First 100 Days)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marissa Nadler, Oxford Reference. Retrieved 27 May 2016
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Interview :: Marissa Nadler". What Weekly Magazine. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c "Marissa Nadler: The Sister". May 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  6. ^ a b c Reed, James (September 15, 2006). "Through music, she builds her own myth". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Popmatters interview" Erin Lyndal Martin, 'Alabaster Queen: An Interview with Marissa Nadler', Pop Matters', May 29, 2013.
  8. ^ 'Alarm interview' Lauren Zens, 'Q&A: Marissa Nadler', Alarm, August 25, 2011
  9. ^
  10. ^ Marissa Nadler at AllMusic, Ballads of Living and Dying
  11. ^ Marissa Nadler at AllMusic, The Saga of Mayflower May
  12. ^
  13. ^ Marissa Nadler at AllMusic, Songs III: Bird on the Water
  14. ^ Kourtesis, Danielle (February 20, 2009). "Marissa Nadler's Haunting Little Hells". Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  15. ^ Sinclair, Scott (March 20, 2009). "Marissa Nadler • Little Hells". Wears the Trousers. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  16. ^ Currin, Grayson (2009). "Little Hells Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  17. ^ "Xasthur and Marissa Nadler Collaborate on New Album". Pitchfork. 
  18. ^ "Marissa Nadler announces new release on her label Box of Cedar Records". Band Weblogs. March 28, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  19. ^ "Marissa Nadler's new video " Staff Blog". Sputnikmusic. May 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  20. ^ "Marissa Nadler Album Review". Pitchfork. 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  21. ^ Pelly, Jenn (January 25, 2012). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  22. ^ "Marissa Nadler / Angel Olsen". Pitchfork. 
  23. ^ a b "The Best Overlooked Albums of 2014 So Fa". Spin. 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-22. 
  24. ^ a b c Sacher, Andrew (2013). "Marissa Nadler releasing new LP on Sacred Bones, appearing on new Emily Jane White LP, playing Rough Trade". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  25. ^ "Case Studies – This Is Another Life". Sacred Bones Records. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  26. ^ "Marissa Nadler's July to arrive via Sacred Bones in February". Timothy. Ander. November 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  27. ^ Minsker, Evan (November 11, 2013). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album July, Shares "Dead City Emily"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  28. ^ Dahlberg, Chris (November 11, 2013). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album on Sacred Bones/Bella Union". CosmoGaming. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  29. ^ "Red Bull Music Academy". 
  30. ^ DeVille, Chris (November 11, 2013). "Marissa Nadler – "Dead City Emily"". Stereogum. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  31. ^ "Marissa Nadler – Chart history : Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  32. ^ "Marissa Nadler – Chart history : Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  33. ^ Metacritic. "Critic Reviews for July". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  34. ^ Gardner, Noel (February 7, 2014). "Album Reviews". Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  35. ^ Lukowski, Andrzej (March 5, 2014). "Marissa Nadler – July". Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  36. ^ a b Rosen, Steven. "Marissa Nadler – July". Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  37. ^ a b Korber, Kevin (February 20, 2014). "Marissa Nadler: July". Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  38. ^ White, Caitlin (January 21, 2014). "See Marissa Nadler's New Video for "Dead City Emily" and Read Our Extensive Interview". Noisey. Retrieved 2014-11-22. 
  39. ^ bellaunion. "Father John Misty / Marissa Nadler split 7". bellaunion. 
  40. ^ Luke Morgan Britton (July 11, 2014). "Father John Misty and Marissa Nadler cover each other for split 7" – The Line of Best Fit". The Line of Best Fit. 
  41. ^ Monroe, Jazz (February 23, 2016). "Marissa Nadler Announces New Album Strangers, Shares "Janie in Love"". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ Newsweek
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^

External links[edit]