My newest artist came to me through one of my favorite dudes/Band Mom family members out of DC: SARA CURTIN is a super-interesting DC songwriter. Her short (8-track) album moves through a pretty wild variety of genre shades with ease: from R&B-inflected sultry jams, to Americana singer-songwriter-y, to indie pop and more. That’s why my start-with track list is so long, there are best songs in each style but there are so many styles! Yet they somehow still cohere together through the strength of Curtin’s voice and personality. I realize the RIYL list of artists below reads like an idiot wrote it who really just means “recommended if you like ladies singing”, but that is not what I mean! This is a varied record with a huge diversity of sounds, and different tracks remind me more of each of those different artists (some of whom also share her sonic diversity). You’ve gotta hear it!!
Sara Curtin is a Washington D.C. musician and former Brooklyn fishmonger, noted by CMJ for her “romantic groove, gossamer weight of the melody, and libidinous lyrical invitations”. Sara made a name for herself in the folk scene with her duo The Sweater Set, but NPR’s WAMU Bandwidth describes her solo project as having more in common “with Sade or Sharon Van Etten than D.C.’s long folk tradition.”
Her first full-length solo album Fly Her And Keep Her came out in 2010, but Curtin has been singing since before she can remember. A family of professional musicians and rock & roll blasters, the Curtin house was always the loud one on the block, the one you could hear from down the street. Her brother Jeff Curtin is now an accomplished sound engineer (Pitchfork) and drummer (Small Black).
Raised on The Beatles, D.C.’s Go-Go music, Michael Jackson, and Joni Mitchell, the influences present in Curtin’s songwriting are eclectic. Classical training in voice and years of choral singing add a refined and complex sense of arrangement. Curtin recorded the majority of Michigan Lilium in her home studio in Washington, D.C. including all vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion and synthesizers. Bass (Spencer Zahn of Twin Shadow and Empress Of) and drums (Ian Chang of Son Lux and Body Language) were recorded at GaluminumFoil Productions in Brooklyn, NY with Jeff Berner, who also mixed the album.
RIYL: St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Neko Case, Sarah Jaffe, Natalie Prass, the bird and the bee
Start With: 8, 7, 2, 6, 4 FCC CLEAN
CHECK OUT all these premieres and features already!:
“V D A Y” premiere on CMJ
“Careless” premiere on AudioFemme
“Sweet Dreams” music video premiere on PopMatters
“Garden of Ghosts” premiere on Track Work with WAMU’s Bandwidth
Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!