Showing posts with label nicole atkins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nicole atkins. Show all posts

Thursday, July 27, 2017

video review: 'goodnight rhonda lee' by nicole atkins

Yeah, I know this isn't going to drive crazy traffic, but I'm still happy I covered this album - Nicole Atkins has had a fascinating career, and definitely deserves more attention, so make sure to check this out.

But after Billboard BREAKDOWN, we've got an artist who I've had a mixed history with for a long time... stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

album review: 'goodnight rhonda lee' by nicole atkins

If you're trying to describe Nicole Atkins in one sentence... look, I'm not even sure it's possible. I tried to put together an easy explanation a number of times for this review, and it just never coalesced beyond, 'Nick Cave, except a woman with more southern gothic country style and sultry grooves'. 

And even then, it feels inadequate. When she broke onto the scene with her debut Neptune City, it sounded like she had grabbed a set of old Roy Orbison sounds and fit it with an indie country sound that wouldn't materialize properly for at least five years! It's no surprise at all her major label had no idea what to do with her, so her second record came on an indie label minus her backing band and her long-time boyfriend. And that makes sense, it was a nastier, scuzzier record... but at the same time, I would say Mondo Amore is a less catchy or solid project compared to her debut, and I couldn't help but feel like her vocals could carry much more pomp and presence that said record allowed to express.

So fast-forward to 2014 and Slow Phaser... and if anything, it was even harder to describe. Part 70s progressive rock tones and unconventional melodies, coupled with more prominent indie country touches and a ragged bland of gothic glam that had more in common with Meat Loaf and Nick Cave than anything in prog rock or country, it was an utterly unique project, even if I could trace the obvious inspiration for the thicker 70s-inspired grooves and tones. Basically, what Slow Phaser represented for Nicole Atkins, Real would represent for Lydia Loveless two years later, because the parallels are stark. And as such, I had no idea what Goodnight Rhonda could represent for her, especially as Slow Phaser didn't really make money and she was nearing her lowest point, partially fueled by alcohol abuse. And yet funded through PledgeMusic and recorded in with contributions from both the Bad Seeds and other Nashville veterans looking to pivot towards soul, this could very well be the sort of record that could pull Atkins out of a nosedive while facing those demons - so what did we hear on Goodnight Rhonda Lee?