Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5 most intriguing vocalists of the moment

If you've been reading this blog it should be fairly obvious that I pay alot of attention to vocals in songs. By 'vocals' I mean the actual performance of the lyrics, not just the content. I'm also a pretty big enthusiast of lists. So why not a list of vocalists? In reverse order here are the five most intriguing vocalists I've been listening to lately:

5 - Kate Jackson, The Long Blondes

On the Long Blondes latest release, Couples, Kate makes very able use of falsetto in some places. What really impresses me though is her ability to use the lower end of her vocal range. One example is "Giddy Stratospheres" from their previous album. She pulls off singing one portion of the bridge in a very low register while maintaining a fairly straightforward delivery. Very impressive. Her delivery in and of itself is interesting, being almost like a speaking voice, but not quite.

4 - Angela Gossow, Arch Enemy

Angela also has ... interesting ... delivery. She uses what are often called 'cookie monster' style vocals. Normally I don't go in for this easily parodied extreme metal style. When those sounds come out of a female throat, though, I find it a lot more interesting. When I first heard Arch Enemy I had never heard a woman pull this off. I've since heard others, but you always remember the first :).

3 - Frazey Ford, The Be Good Tanyas

Imagine a vocalist who ate an entire jar of peanut butter before singing. That is not Frazey. Frazey sounds like she is actually eating the peanut butter WHILE SINGING. A unique and very enjoyable style. Takes a little getting used to a delivery that has as much in common with mumbled rambling as more common vocal styles. But worth getting used to.

2 - Melora Creager, Rasputina

With Melora we go in a completely different direction. Her voice is crystal clear, with only the faintest vibratto on sustained notes. That warble is used to great effect. The Rasputina cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" is definitive, nearly dripping melancholy. The cellos of course account for some of this, but much of the credit for outdoing the original must go to the vocal performance.

1 - Ali Howard, Lucky Soul

Lucky Soul are one of my favorite bands at the moment. Ali Howard's vocals get much of the credit for this. They are velvety like honey, except this honey has begun to crystallize a bit so is a little gritty. Ali is far from Kim Carnes/Bonnie Tyler throaty vocals territory but you get a definate feeling she could play on that field. At the same time she hints at the stylings of a vocally talented 12 year old. In some respects reminisciant of an early 60s Ronnie Spector. The combination of sandpaper breathiness and little girl exubriance makes for a very intriguing result.

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