A dark yet beautiful world!

It´s not often I stumble upon a female solo artist that sounds like – and write songs – that brings to mind gravel voiced artist like Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Nick Cave – and sirens like  Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. This sextet’s musical expression is recreated in the form of a woman of in er mid-twenties of Ethiopian origin but now residing in Finland.

The name Mirel Wagner sounds less Ethiopian and absolutely not like a name from Finland. It´s a name that seems to have a lot of dark history – and her stories is as dark as someone at least twice her age.

After name dropping Cash, Cohen, Cave, Sandoval, Harvey and Phair who is still reading – and wants to hear more about Mirel Wagner and her self titled debut album?

The Mirel Wagner record was recorded in just two days, mostly accompanied by a naked guitar. Minimalist picking the guitar. From bitter sounding melodies to more mantra-riff-o-rama – all performed solely on the guitar. Only accompanied by Mirel Wagners lonely yet strong and mellow voice

The voice and the songs need to be explained more closely; When Mirel sings, her voice is monotonous, coarse, rough, tired of life – it sounds as if each word must be forced out of her mouth. At the same time, there’s still something oddly beautiful – and she has a natural sensuality in her voice. The recording of her voice and instruments is so quiet and calm that every little strum the guitars neck can be heard. When the nails touches the guitar strings – and her fingers are being dragged up the guitar neck it makes this sliding sound. As if the guitar sighs.

You´ll hear Mirel Wagners voice deep in your ears, so close – you can almost feel the warmth of her breath. Hear the sound of her lips when she separate them and starts to sing – and you´ll even hear them touch each other again when she finishes the song. Even when Mirels tongue moves around her mouth to make this small clicking sound – and it hits the palate and her teeth in the oral cavity. Every small sigh of air she’s making as she prepare her self to sing the next line in her songs – and the sigh of relief that comes at the end of each sentence. I got a feeling that she may be laying down on either bed or on the naked concrete floor or sitting all alone in the dark while recording the album
So tight, close and without doubt very intimate.

Heres the album cover to Mirel Wagners self-titled debut album from 2011. You can hear it here; 

Click HERE to listen to the album in Spotify!

From start to end the albums steals only 35 minutes of your lifetime. The themes of the album is pitch-dark and grim stories of death, deep grief, problems and nightmarish small short stories spread over the 9 tracks.

If i should sort her albums in my record collection I sure would put her album in one of these fictional music genres; doom soul, dark folk, goth blues, minimalist folk.

If Mirel Wagner was a color – i would describe her as the non-colors black and white. As her musical world, and the album art, the pictures, the font and the liner notes and lyrics; All in rough black and white!

Only the song “No Hands”, in all of its monotone performance and simple naive text, are envisioned a tiny hope of simple childlike joy …

been riding my bicycle
all day long up and down the old
dusty dirt road
look mother no hands
see the sun filter through the trees
I am happy

…But the happines lasts only until the last open-for-interpretation and disturbing verse…

the wind and the speed
can not see the danger
look mother no hands

Maybe Mirel Wagners “No Hands” is written in a parallel world with the late Syd Barret in mind? Or at least her song is a part two of the song he wrote for his band Pink Floyd – the naive child like same-themed song “Bike”

The lyrics, music, photos
Step into Mirel Wagner
Dark, sensual world!

I have heard the future…

…And her name is…

I heard about her a few years back; checked out her music then I forgot her because artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy – all three strong women (then) with a solid retrosoul backing – just like Kendras first EPs.

Kendra has so far released three EPs through iTunes – they can be downloaded here;

“Kendra Morris” 6 tracks released 2011

“Milk And Cookies Never Lie” 5 tracks, released 2008

“This Wont Heart A Bit” 5 tracks, released 2006

(no artwork found)

But now Kendra Morris is back, and she has two really strong tracks out – more about that later!

So, who is Kendra Morris?

She is a singer-songwriter from New York. Her parents record collection was full of some of the greatest soullegends; Stevie Wonder, The Spinners, War, Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, The Temptations and more! With this fabolous records playing and laying around in her parents house it did not take long time for a young Kendra to discover the joy of singing along – to some of the best artist ever!

Photos by Eric White, from Ladygunn.com

Even though she calls her self a singer-songwriter in her homepage I’ll promise you her parents record collection has made a great imprint in her sound! Kendra Morris soulful voice should make fans of Adele run for their money when she releases her debut album “Banshee” at the end of august 2012.

She has this hoarse like, soulful voice with more they one nod to the great soulsongers back in time. And if I should dare to call her a soul singer more than a singer songwriter I think no one would arrest me. If I could choose if I could sort the sound of Kendra Morris in the singer songwriter category or the soul genre there is no doubt where I would place her!

Kendra Morris upcoming 16 track debut album “Banshee” comes out 28th of august 2012 through Wax Poetics Records

She has now a on going project were she releases cover versions of well known singers and bands every tuesday – for free, through her homepage and her Kendra Morris Facebook page (you can also follow Kendra Morris on Twitter). So far she has released two fantastic cover versions of Chris Isaaks “Wicked Game” and Pink Floyds “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (Click to listen on the band and song names to listen to her versions of the songs).
I love cover versions were the artists make the songs sound like it´s their own, and Kendra has so far has done some really great versions of the two aforementioned artists/bands. The Pink Floyd song is closest to the original, but with Kendras strong voice she really owns the song. A quite funny thing is that her version of “Wicked Game” has more similarities with Pink Floyd than Chris Isaak. Both of the songs are really strong and soulful – and suits her voice and music really good!

Photos by Eric White, from Ladygunn.com

With a great taster and start like this I am so looking forward to the next weeks with new cover versions. And to not forget her full complete album when it´s being released.

Another cool thing about Kendra Morris is that she makes her own album cover collages inspired by old nature books, school books, encyclopedias and vintage porn! They have this cool retro psychedelic feel – and makes a nice package for her music.

When I drew comparisons with Adele and Amy – it was if Kendra Morris forthcoming album “Banshee”, sounds as great as her last releases there is a great chance for her to become the new Adele.

The year 2012 is going to be the year everyone will know who Kendra Morris is – and if the wind blows her way – she will become one of the really big names in 2012!