Page 1 of 9 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 133

Thread: Anais Mitchell

  1. #1
    Senior Member baroquepopfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Scottish Highlands
    Posts
    139

    Anais Mitchell

    Surely someone else loves her too?

    Her Hadestown folk-opera of 2010 was well received by critics and seems to have a deserved cult following. It's well worth hearing

    And now "Young Man in America" has just been released. Definitely the best thing I've heard in 2012. Really solid, with one good song after another. I just love her impassioned nasal squawk of a voice.


  2. #2
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    8,836
    Big fan here! I'd been thinking of starting a thread but hadn't got around to it.

    Hadestown is one of my top albums by anyone and I've been loving Young Man In America too.

    Here's a video from the last time I saw her:


    Anais Mitchell - Old Fashioned Hat
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  3. #3
    They'll eat your baby cat! Peter Z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    948
    I'm so obsessed with her. I think Hadestown is one of the best albums I've ever heard!

  4. #4
    streak his blood across my beak PoorMatty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    857
    I didn't care too much for Hadestown, but The Brightness was excellent, and Hymns for the Exiled before it was even better. I am loving this new one a lot so far. Only listened once through. "Venus," "Coming Down," and the title track are breathtaking. The combination of her lyrics and vocals is so visceral.

  5. #5
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Kentuckiana
    Posts
    6,160
    I played Hadestown to death. One of those amazing albums no one will probably hear.

    I think Anais started her own record label. I am not sure, though. You google news her and there is almost nothing, which is such a shame. She plays an awesome guitar, she has a beautiful voice, she's cute as heck. She has everything you would want just hasn't had that one song/moment yet.
    Who said you were evil?
    My SAT scores.

  6. #6
    best finest surgeon JHV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    2,582
    ^Anais did start her own label, Wilderland Records, for this release. I'm sure the lack of guest stars is keeping this record from getting a fraction of the press Hadestown got. I only just found out she had a new album yesterday, after she got a nice write-up in the Philadelphia Inquirer in advance of her show here tomorrow.

    Luckily, I was still able to get a ticket for the show, so I'll be seeing her tomorrow!

  7. #7
    streak his blood across my beak PoorMatty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    857
    Anais is a friend of a friend of mine in the Boston area, and I remember back in 2005 or so listening to Hymns for the Exiled over and over. We spoke a few times over MySpace messages and I kept meaning to get back up to New England to see a show at one of the little coffee shop type venues she was playing at the time. When she got signed to Ani DiFranco's label, one of the independent record stores down here had a big poster they put out for The Brightness, and I was over the moon thinking I was going to get to watch her blow up huge, Joanna Newsom style. I went up to the cashier and pointed at the poster and said, "I know her!" which was not 100% accurate, but I was just so proud of her in that moment. I am disappointed that she hasn't become as big as I expected, but I still have hope that her time will come.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    over it
    Posts
    618
    The new album is amazing - can't believe I missed the show in westminster, so am definitely going next time she comes through town!

  9. #9
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Kentuckiana
    Posts
    6,160
    PoorMatty,
    I heard an unsubstantiated story that Anais traveled the Middle-East making her way by singing for her supper and just being an absolute delight. Now, is this completely true? I don't know. Did Jewel really live in a van busking for meals? I don't know.. but sounds cool/different/infamous. Makes a good sentence or two on a VH-1 Behind the Music special.
    Last edited by Volta; 03-02-2012 at 04:41 AM.
    Who said you were evil?
    My SAT scores.

  10. #10
    streak his blood across my beak PoorMatty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    857
    I've heard from the horse's mouth that she did a lot of traveling in that area in her younger days, but I don't know any specifics. She speaks pretty good Arabic, I believe.

  11. #11
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    8,836
    ^ yeah, I've heard her talk about Middle East travels and speaking Arabic at gigs.

    Here's a great review of Young Man In America.
    When Justin Vernon paid tribute to "the non-nominees who will never be [on this stage]" in his acceptance speech for the Best New Artist Grammy, it's possible one of the artists he had in mind was the ambitious, somewhat overlooked Vermont-born folk singer Anaïs Mitchell. Bon Iver has been covering a new tune of hers, "Coming Down", on their most recent tour, and Vernon sang on Mitchell's last release, 2010's Hadestown. That record was a 20-song, acoustic-driven opera telling the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, with Vernon voicing the former, Mitchell the latter, and Ani DiFranco occasionally showing up to play Persephone. The whole thing often felt like an all-star folk book on tape, and it was as impressive and lovely and unapproachable as it sounds. In some ways, Mitchell's latest album, Young Man in America, is just as ambitious, but it's more intimate and accessible than its predecessor, focused on the textures of everyday life and the odd, stirring power of Mitchell's voice.

    Though Young Man in America follows the titular character through some of its songs (including the terrific opening suite, in which the haunting, primal "Wilderland" moves seamlessly into the title track) it is less a concept record and more, in her words, "a meditation on a theme." And it's because of this approach that, although it's certainly got the recent recession and certain aspects of American history in mind, Young Man pulls off the difficult feat of feeling political without ever being didactic. Its songs instead focus on the repetitions of everyday labor (one of its narrators "Sew[s] a party dress/ In and out/ And in and out") and see in all types of work equal importance (a wife who's about to give birth tells her shepherd husband, "We both have laboring to do"). At first glance, the characters might seem remote from modern or everyday experience: a shepherd's wife who dies in childbirth, a seamstress, the occasional goddess. But in Mitchell's egalitarian eye, these characters are all animated with the same sort of life. The figures of farmers are chiseled into stone, and, in the lively strum of "Venus", a marble-carved goddess laughs, sings, and moans. Hers are the songs that make myths of men, and that make statues shimmy and shake.

    Mitchell is a skilled storyteller; many of her songs move through absorbing narratives that pull the emotional rug out from under the listener at an expertly timed moment. The characters on Young Man in America all seem to begin relatively sure of themselves and end up sputtering, questioning, unraveling. "He Did" starts out as a rather sentimental song about the narrator's love for her father, but ends grappling with a series of personal quandaries in the wake of his death ("Who gave you your sorrow/...And an empty page to fill?"). Perhaps even more powerful, "Tailor" is told from the point of view of a woman who's always figured her character through the eyes of her man. "When he said/ That he liked my cut of hair/ I became a barber," she sings, and so on through "tailor," "sculptress," and finally "poet." When he leaves her midway through the song, she's left doubting her own identity, "Now that he's gone away/ There isn't anyone to say/ If I'm a diamond/ Or a dime-a-dozen." Mitchell gives voice this woman's question at the end of the song, with quiet pathos that could appear on the lips of almost any of Young Man's narrators: "Who am I/ Who am I?"

    Mitchell has a sweet, squeaky bleat that's somewhere between Joanna Newsom and John Darnielle, and there will be those listeners who hear a verse or two of Young Man and dismiss her vocals as being precious or affected, but they'd be missing the point entirely. Mitchell's songs are never whimsical, sentimental, or light: Sex and death creep into her compositions as casually as they do real life. The words of these narrators gain a peculiar power when they're sung in a voice that sounds at times childlike and innocent, and her delivery gives these songs an emotional complexity that welcomes and even demands repeated listens. Same goes for the splendidly naturalistic arrangements, courtesy of producer Todd Sickafoose, which cast woodwinds as fluttering trees and crashing drums as characters' inner turmoil without ever feeling intrusive or overly literal. A few of the quieter songs like "Dyin' Day" and "Annmarie" pull from similar-sounding palettes, but the results are consistently immersive and rich.

    Mitchell's father is a writer (that's an old picture of him on the cover), and one of Young Man's most riveting narratives, "Shepherd", is her adaptation of one of his stories. It's a fitting statement from a record focused on the classic American conflict between having reverence for lineage but craving independence and unpredictability. Like her characters, Mitchell possesses a restless spirit, one that pulls from her musical predecessors and contemporaries but continues with each release to develop a way of looking at the world that's all her own.
    And a few more videos I've recorded at various gigs:


    Anais Mitchell - 1984 ( London 12 Bar Club 26th May 2010)


    Anais Mitchell and Erin McKeown - Ain't No Grave (The Luminaire, London 23rd January 2010)


    Anais Mitchell and Erin McKeown - The Wedding Song (Brighton Hanbury Club 24th January 2010)


    Anais Mitchell and Erin McKeown - The Wall (The Luminarie, London 23rd January 2010)

    Anais and Erin.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    2,034
    Eeee Anaïs! Man, Young Man in America is perfect. Definitely one of my favourites this year, I think I probably prefer it to Hadestown (nothing on the album quite touches the emotional depth & maturity of Ships and the title track...). Going to see her in June!

  13. #13
    entertaining in its outrage Volta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Kentuckiana
    Posts
    6,160
    I miss the early Anais and Erin days... the "Righteous Babe Years"

    I'm seeing her on the 17th in Bloomington at a venue I went to a long time ago to see a local band from Indianapolis play at. The venue is teeny tiny.
    Who said you were evil?
    My SAT scores.

  14. #14
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    8,836
    Enjoy your gigs Volto and Andrew. I'm seeing her in London in May and again in June. I used to see her years ago playing to a couple of dozen people in the 12 Bar Club which is a lovely but tiny venue in London. She has quite a following here and the front row of gigs is pretty much always the same people. Since the success of Hadestown she's playing 200-300 capacity venues and they normally sell out.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  15. #15
    streak his blood across my beak PoorMatty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    857
    Young Man in America might be my favorite album I've heard so far this year. The title track is one of the greatest songs I've heard in a while, but the whole thing is brilliant. The only tracks I am less enthusiastic about are "You Are Forgiven" and "Ships." I feel like she could've ended the album on a stronger note.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •