LoneLady: Itchy And Scratchy

LoneLady; credit: Rebecca Miller i i

hide captionLoneLady's ability to focus on restraint gives "Immaterial" the skittering quality of a lost new-wave classic.

Rebecca Miller
LoneLady; credit: Rebecca Miller

LoneLady's ability to focus on restraint gives "Immaterial" the skittering quality of a lost new-wave classic.

Rebecca Miller

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Immaterial"
  • Artist: LoneLady
  • CD: Nerve Up
  • Genre: New Wave

If it were 1983, LoneLady's debut album, Nerve Up, would surely fit in on the storied rosters of Factory or 4AD Records. Filled with crisp, unadorned and frequently bleak agit-guitar-pop songs, Nerve Up is the work of just one woman: Julie Campbell, whose voice recalls a less nervous Kristin Hersh, or even a less emotive Alanis Morissette. There's a controlled crack in her croon, and she's got a knack for employing overly stressed words, as when Campbell sings the chorus of "Immaterial" and gets as much mileage out of all five syllables as she can without upping the angst into hysterics.

Campbell's voice is always placed under a fairly rigid set of parameters — just like her music, which uses restriction to build jangly tension. In "Immaterial," she sings within the boundaries of the recurring guitar riff, not breaking bar lines or coloring outside the lines, so when she announces, "It's only emotion," it sounds like a cool psychologist trying to convince herself that the feelings she's experiencing aren't worth her attention. But it's Campbell's ability to focus on restraint that gives "Immaterial" the skittering quality of a lost new-wave classic.

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  • Album: Nerve Up
  • Artist: Lonelady
  • Label: Warp
  • Released: 2010
 

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