Guest Collector: A Fine Frenzy
Thu, 27 Mar 2008 12:52:44
Alison Sudol, the 22-year-old songbird behind A Fine Frenzy, isn't afraid to flaunt her soft spot for the sentimental. Her debut album, One Cell In The Sea, finds Sudol's fragile vocals and diary lyrics entwining with haunting piano, to craft ballads of love and heartbreak. Last year these poignant compositions struck an empathetic chord with music fans around the world, resulting in international chart activity for her first single "Almost Lover," and earning her an opening slot on tour with Rufus Wainwright.
While preparing her sophomore album, and taking a break from recent television appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and CSI:New York, Sudol let us in on some of her favorite albums and brought us a little closer to the emotional core of this soft-hearted songstress.
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
I remember the first time I heard "First Day of My Life." I was in a clothing store wandering around and it was playing somewhat softly overhead. I remember stopping dead in my tracks to listen, then going up to the counter and asking a pierced and tattooed guy whose song was playing. He looked at me like I was a giant moron and said it was Bright Eyes. I fell in love (with Bright Eyes, not Mr. Grouchypants), and though this album is only one of my favorites, I think I listen to it the most. Connor's lyrics, the sweet simple melodies, the clanging cacophony that some of the songs erupt into.... I'm smitten.
Iron and Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle
This album is the sonic equivalent of sitting at a campfire in some time long past with a blanket wrapped around you and your love. Decrepit barns, amber fields and singing crickets lit only by moonlight and the orange glow of the fire. Peace, warmth, smoke, romance and sadness.
Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant
This is the first album I've bought by Belle & Sebastian (I know, where have I been??!). I got it in a second hand record shop in Vancouver and fell in love with it immediately. It makes me feel good to listen to it, especially when I listen hard to hear the lyrics. They're some of the best stories I've ever heard in song form.
Radiohead - In Rainbows
I love Radiohead. This is their newest album (I think everyone in the world knows that) and it's pretty fantastic. I love and respect Radiohead to no end, and am blown away by their consistency. They are always good. More than good, really. Brilliant.
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
This album is fun, exuberant, lovelorn and impeccably produced. The arrangements are flawless, and the vocals are so sweet it's ridiculous. This is very much a road album for me, it reminds me of touring, driving through the countryside and loving it but also missing home very much.
Maria Taylor - Lynn Teeter Flower
I love this album. Maria's vocals are soothing and gorgeous, the songs are honest and all-too-close to home for me, and the production is great. "Clean Getaway" was on repeat on my iPod pretty much all summer.
Dustin O' Halloran - Piano Solos Vol. 2
Simple, lovely piano pieces that remind me of ballet class as a little girl. This album puts me to sleep every night. It's relaxing to me because there are no notes out of place, no "Why did he play that?" moments. Everything just flows beautifully and lets my mind shut down.
Kings of Convenience - Quiet is the New Loud
Kings of Convenience are like a modern-day Simon and Garfunkel to me. Flawless harmonies, quiet but powerful songs and beautiful lyrics. This album makes me feel better when most other things can't. I never tire of it.
Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
Sufjan Stevens is absolutely mad in the best of ways. I think all his albums are brilliant. This one is just one of the many, but it has one of my favorite songs on it, "To Be Alone with You". He's amazing. Absolutely incredible. I'm obsessed, therefore I will say no more, for fear of gushing. If you haven't heard of him, give him a listen. You won't regret it.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff