released Apr 27th, 2010

from the album - Wild Tigers I Have Known

bio from all music

Emily Jane White is a singer/songwriter from California who released her debut album in 2007. Influenced by American blues and folk music tradition along with contemporary female singer/songwriters such as PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, she has been compared to Chan Marshall of Cat Power and Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. While studying at the University of California Santa Cruz during the early 2000s, White fronted a band called the Diamond Star Halos and began developing her craft as a singer/songwriter. After college she moved to France for a while and established herself as a solo artist. Upon returning to California in 2006 and basing herself in San Francisco, she collaborated with producer Wainwright Hewlett on her full-length album debut, Dark Undercoat (2007). Released initially on the Oakland, CA-based label Double Negative Records, Dark Undercoat was subsequently licensed for international release by the label Talitres in 2008 and reached number 143 on the French albums chart. Her sophomore effort, Victorian American, was released on Talitres in France in 2009, and on Milan in the United States in early 2010.

album review from all music

Listening to Dark Undercoat, it's difficult to believe that Emily Jane White once fronted various college punk and metal bands. The frenetic energy that fuels both those genres is totally at odds with the incredibly languorous feel of this set, as White whiles away her time moodily musing, mostly accompanied only by her acoustic guitar or piano. Dark Undercoat, her debut, is awash in dark undercurrents, and tinged with a deeply affecting melancholy, somewhat reminiscent of Nick Drake, which Wainwright Hewlett's superb engineering and production enhances. The sound is underlit with a glowing warmth, the quiet atmospheres subtly acquiring surprising depths, while a sublime intimacy is spun around the entire set. White's dusky, lilting alto conjures up its own spell, as do the simple but artful arrangements. Guitar strumming songs like "Dagger" and "Time on Your Side" illustrate the artist's deep connections to the folk scene, but others have a western bend, foremost among them "Sleeping Dead." In contrast, the magnificent "Bessie Smith" and "Hole in the Middle" sing the blues. "Bessie Smith" and the title track make inspired use of cello, fabulous work from multi-instrumentalist Muir. Bass and drums intensify a number of songs, while White's concert piano skills are highlighted on a pair of tracks, with her supple guitar showcased across the entire set. The music is mesmerizing throughout, moody palettes over which the singer paints pictures of love and loss, and the detritus of dashed hopes and dreams: "a trail of ashes" left behind by soured romances. Like the Marlboro Man, White's men are strong and silent types, many "Wild Tigers" only half-tamed, a few straw men whose strong facades hide their own insecurities. The themes are universal, while her lyrics resonate strongly, abetted by a sprinkling of Biblical references. All told, an inspired album whose atmospheres smolder on long after the music ends.

Track Listing

1 Bessie Smith 3:26
2 Hole in the Middle 3:26
3 Dark Undercoat 4:57
4 Dagger 5:12
5 Time on Your Side 2:21
6 The Demon 5:49
7 Sleeping Dead 4:31
8 Blue 4:28
9 Wild Tigers I Have Known 4:18
10 Two Shots to the Head 4:19