It’s so difficult today finding new music, and most of that is because it’s so easy. When I was growing up there were only so many releases every year, only so many records you could buy. Most of these were monopolised by the major record companies, but you could seek out at a discerning record shop a myriad of obscure on short-lived independent records. These days, what makes it hard is there is a million people releasing their own songs on YouTube, on MySpace (does that still exist), self releasing cd’s and downloads. you can get drowned in new music, unless you can fish out the real talent. Real talent like Clara Engel.
Last year, Toronto based singer-songwriter Clara Engel has released a four track album entitled The Lovebirds throat. Her distinctive smokey alto voice sweeps over the four minimalist songs (just Engel and a guitar) as she tells poetic stories, vaguely reminiscent of PJ Harvey. The first track, Not Knowing, sets the tone for the whole release with sparse and simple, repetitive guitar lines, ‘You left me here to survive, you left me here to make peace, with not knowing’ Engle sings, and you believe her, and feel for her.
Song to the Sea which is the second track. Again, Engel sings emotive stories over the simple lines that grow and weave, the drums adding more drive to the song, but it remains unrequited, never needing, or wanting, to give the listener that satisfaction of a brighter future. Clara Engels voice really comes into its own in this track, capturing your attention throughout, but particularly at the end. Next up is married to the bone, another number that follows a similar path, while managing to sound different. Lovebird’s is the last track, and probably my favourite. First up it features that twangy guitar sound beloved of Portishead, and a thicker texture than the other songs, with Clara Engel weaving words over the top, sort of mysterious poetry ‘touch me and dissolve my mind’ she sings. Listening to this ep/album, they are the two things I can guarantee it does. You can get hold of the whole ep here
Clara Engel – Song to the Sea Witch
If you like this ep (and let’s be honest, whats not to like) then you can pick up a couple more releases. Vox Humana (UK) released her 1st vinyl EP last year, available here, and Backwards Music (IT) just released one of her albums as a full-length LP’s here In addition, if you want to be really proactive, and help artists and Clara Engel in particular – you can go here and contribute to crowdfunding her next album
Clara Engel – Blind me. Not from ‘The Lovebirds Throat’ but well worthy of investigation