Marissa Nadler has been performing since 2000, releasing a number of well-received studio albums, and most recently, July on Bella Union in early 2014. She taught herself to play guitar as a teenager, and at the age of 15 began to write her first songs. Her musical style has been described as “dream folk”, featuring her haunting mezzo-soprano over the steady foundation of her acoustic guitar. Lyrically, her music has a strong narrative aspect, featuring introspective and American Gothic themes complimented by reverb-laden instrumentation and production.
The Boston Globe wrote “She has a voice that, in mythological times, could have lured men to their deaths at sea, an intoxicating soprano drenched in gauzy reverb that hits bell-clear heights, lingers, and tapers off like rings of smoke”.
July, her first release on Sacred Bones (US) and Bella Union (EU) Records, was recorded at Seattle’s Avast Studio, pairing Nadler with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room). Dunn matches Nadler’s darkness by creating a multi-colored sonic palette that infuses new dimensions into her songs. July is the kind of release that reminds you why NPR counts Nadler’s songwriting as so “revered among an assortment of tastemakers”, and an album she couldn’t have made earlier in her career because, as every songwriter knows, she didn’t just write these songs: she lived them.
“The question of whether Marissa Nadler’s elegant folk music ought to soundtrack our dreams or haunt our nightmares has been a thread through her uncannily cohesive catalogue. With six albums in 10 years and never a misstep, Nadler has grown her own perceptive language . . . Nadler has few direct contemporaries—Bill Callahan, Sharon Van Etten, or Alela Diane come to mind—but here, on July’s most extreme song [“Dead City Emily”], she could sensibly share bills with, say, Iceage or Deafheaven.” Pitchfork 8.1
“On her sixth album, Boston-born singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler gets darker than ever before . . . Gone is the lithe, limber-voiced ingénue of last year’s ‘Wedding,’ and in her place lies Nadler’s blackest-ever-black album. New songs like ‘Was It a Dream’ and ‘Desire’ benefit from darker hired guns: Eyvind Kang’s strings, Steve Moore’s synths and the guitars of Phil Wandscher lend emotional heft and existential dread to these 11 phantasmagoric love songs.” NPR
“July unfolds as a near-perfect song cycle.” All Music
“Gorgeously ethereal” SPIN
Marissa Nadler official site
Marissa Nadler on Twitter
Marissa Nadler on Soundcloud