Monday, January 21, 2013

Daphne Lee Martin - Moxie (Review + Release show)

Got a thirst for super high end experimental folk? Daphne Lee Martin has the tools to quench like you have never heard before. Matching remarkable production values with keen and clever words/compositions creates a masterpiece called "Moxie". The entire experience is seamless enjoyment, blissful and boastful, and unrelenting.

Now according to the release information "Moxie" is the first of two related concept records: Frost & Moxie, or ‘treat a queen like a whore and a whore like a queen’. Moxie opens with "Sweet and Low Down" which not only filled my room with deep sass but also illustrious instrumentation, some of which I can only imagine (for budgetary reasons) is sampled. This is a theme I continue to question throughout the recording: Are these instruments real? They sound exceptionally authentic, filled with attitude and performance quality. Bill Readey at Fuzzy Rainbow Productions has done an amazing job producing this album.

The release info describes 3rd track "Belly" as a "steamy summer jam" and while it is a steamy jam, I feel this song fits well in many contexts and locations. It is chill as hell, and while standing out from many of these recordings as being somewhat more reserved and less "showy" I think its quiet dignity speaks volumes about the characters in this elaborate and continually weaving story. "Belly" is my favorite track on this album, and it stands out as a smashing single. I dream a little fantasy where this song is on a split 7 inch with Fake Babies "Talk Like My Baby".

Another strong standout track in an album filled to the brim with swelling beauty is "Faithless Beauty" which not only showcases Daphne's unbelievably sultry vocals, but also that of Elison Jackson's Sam Perduta who offers a top notch fragile and fluttering vocal performance. I would go so far as to say his vocals are akin to Dave Longstreth in this song. Daphne doesn't give you a moment to forget it is her record, and keeps the smooth wonder of her voice flowing. Also, I have to comment again on the production values being so unrelentingly high with particular note to the the various brass instruments at play or being sampled. So appropriate and executed SO well.

This is just such a high calibur release for a local artist. It's hard to get past how expertly the whole sound was crafted and how cleverly the narrative is woven into the audible experience. Even as closer "A Little Bit" flaunts telephone style vocals, it still emerges as a wholesome high fidelity sound. This album, crossing time periods and genres can only best be described to outsiders as "folk" music, despite being so much more. Classy and classic, "Moxie" is a strong contender for best release of the year as well as best folk record ever released in Connecticut.

The applause at the end is a nice touch, and a sentiment I am certain countless listeners will reciprocate.

You can see Daphne Lee Martin as she plays scores of shows this year, as well as eagerly await the twin to this record "Frost" which I am sure is in production. Most importantly though, you should see Daphne and her band perform these songs at Moxie Record Release Party this Friday at The Oasis Pub in New London. Here are some details from the Facebook Event Page:

10pm: Quiet Life (special duo performance)
11pm: Daphne Lee Martin debuts 'Moxie'
Midnight: MT Bearington

Opening the event will be native sons now by way of Portland, Oregon QUIET LIFE (on this occasion performing as a duo of Sean Spellman and Thor Jensen).

Next up, DAPHNE LEE MARTIN debuts her new collection (and sophomore release) 'Moxie' with an intriguing new line-up.

And wrapping the night up rightly, New Haven's M.T. BEARINGTON offer their fairy tale meets horror flick pyshcedelica.

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