Wednesday, May 6, 2009

things you should know by carina round

British-transplant and current Los Angeleno Carina Round has Things You Should Know. Or at least so claims the title and opening line of the press release for her new EP (out May 12th). Although, in all fairness, what you should know is minimal: that life is full of emotion and Round experiences it all to the fullest. However, like most knowledge, it's the quest that's imperative. Impressively, Round takes us though that journey to this understanding in a scant five songs and twenty-four minutes.

Like fellow LA-based singer-songwriter Sara Lov, Round paints songs filled with vivid images and melancholy. However, while Lov's narratives are tinged with sweet nostalgia, Round takes her listener to a darker place, ethereal voice and emotional commitment easily earning comparisons to PJ Harvey and Patti Smith. It's a weapon she wields skilfully, often moving from a haunted whisper to a howl in the course of a single song.

Album atmospherics are far and above what one would expect from the over-generalized "singer-songwriter" genre. While a cohesive body of work, each song stands out with individual melodramatic flourishes, from the jagged guitars of "Everything for a Reason," to the haunting chorus of "Thief of the Sky," all fitting together to form a world that's both surreal and painfully honest. However, it's the ambitious album opener "Backseat" that feels set to propel Round to the next level of stardom (or, at the very least, additional spins on KCRW). What starts out like the electronic patter of rain quickly blossoms into a choir-backed piano ballad, as Round chants, It should be forever / God told me -- a painful lament that grows more and more gut-wrenching with each conviction-filled repeat.

Of course, while the economic slowdown inspires some artists, it gets in the way of said art actually being made. In the grand tradition of the artists of old, Round is currently enacting a patron program to fund her next album. Donate generously -- there's so much more we need to know.

mp3: " Backseat (Flash In the Pan remix)" by Carina Round

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