I’ve got a little review of Shannon Stephens first album up today at Blurt and, surprise surprise, I liked it a lot more than Pitchfork did.
You can start with Stephens' voice, pure at its core but smudged with shadows, as it veers off unexpectedly from breathy lyricism to darker, jazzier slides. She sounds young here, occasionally blunt and unfinished, but lovely. You can hear bits of Linda Perhacs' unearthly sun-splotched bluesiness in cuts like "So Gentle Your Arms" and "Welcome to NYC", traces of Lou Rhodes' gutsiness in "Panic." Stephens has a jazz singer's skill with dramatic swoops, lifting up or flying down in octave intervals and landing lightly, without effort. She sounds, most of the time, fresh and untouched, though her lyrics can be dark, even mordantly funny at times.
The rest of the review
“Catch the Morning Line”