Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Julie Meckler-Queenshead review

Chicago (by way of Paris) songstress Julie Meckler celebrated the release of her debut album, Queenshead, with a show at The Hideout late last month. The album, which is just as indebted to American artists like the late Jeff Buckley and the recently reunited Mazzy Star as it is to French singers Edith Piaf and Charlotte Gainsbourg, is a stunning mix of genres held together by sultry vocals and excellent musicianship.

The opening song "Me and the Waves" sets the tone. The track starts out poppy and takes a dark, unexpected turn. It is followed by a bossa nova take on David Bowie's "Soul Love" and the jazzy original "Manhattan."

"All Your Pretty Things" is a dead ringer for Buckley; both Meckler's vocals and Will Phalen's guitar work evoke his classic album Grace. Elsewhere on Queenshead there are mariachi horns (the title track), dub reggae bass ("Bitch"), scatting ("Desire") and plucked acoustic guitar ("The Dresses Song").

The album's strongest tracks are saved for last. "Forest" is ultra-catchy college rock, equal parts early R.E.M. and current charting bands like Metric and Stars, while "Deportation Blues" is a harrowing, autobiographical song that addresses the fear of exile.

Julie Meckler will be performing at Cafe Mustache this Friday, Oct. 18, at 8:30 PM. 

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