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Nicole Atkins Looks Amazing

H/T: Luke P.

I remember the first song I heard by Dire Straits. It was “Sultans of Swing,” which of course became a mega-hit. I turned on the radio after it started so I didn’t know who was singing. I remember thinking that Dylan had released a very good new song.

I was reminded of that while listening to Nicole Atkins’ terrific “Girl You Look Amazing.” Listen to it and I believe it is clear who she sounds like. Unlike Knopfler — who always sounds like Dylan — this seems to be a one-shot thing for Atkins. Perhaps it’s a bit of a shout out.

This is from the profile at Atkins’ site:

A neon noir tour de force of hi-def late-night pop, Slow Phaser marks Nicole Atkins’ most ingenious and indelibly modern collection to date. Produced by Tore Johannson – with whom she partnered on her now-classic 2007 debut, Neptune City – the album is a milestone for the acclaimed singer/songwriter, her restless creativity fully realized via the addition of some surprising colors to her already diverse paintbox. Songs like the poptastic “Girl You Look Amazing” and the sultry “Red Ropes” positively swirl with day-glo danceability, the bright hues setting Atkins’ distinctive creative voice in a brilliant and undeniable new light. Bittersweet yet life affirming, Slow Phaser is Nicole Atkins at her confident and unpredictable best – spirited, sexy, and determinedly forward thinking. (Continue Reading…)

Wikipedia has the bio:

Atkins was born in Neptune, New Jersey. She grew up in Shark River Hills, a middle class enclave within Neptune overlooking the Shark River.[4][5] Atkins has cited the river (technically a bay) as a major inspiration for her music, particularly the imagery of “the river in the rain” found in the title track on her album Neptune City.[6] She started playing piano when she was aged nine and taught herself to play guitar at 13.[7] She eschewed more popular acts of the day for musical groups her parents listened to, such as The Ronettes and Johnny Cash. She has cited The Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler as a major early influence. (Continue Reading…)

The new album is “Slow Phaser.” Jim Farber offered a positive review in The New York Daily News:

Nicole Atkins has a bullet-proof voice. Gleaming in tone, piercing in volume and unstoppable in attitude, it rips right through you.

It’s the ideal vehicle for a song like “Cool People,” which could become the anti-Williamsburg anthem of all time. It’s a sarcastic takedown of hipster culture, delivered with a confidence that, ironically, makes Atkins seem like the coolest person in the room.  (Continue Reading…)

Below is “Promised Land.”

(Home page image: Kirk Stauffer)

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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