Alela Diane, Parson Redheads, Singleman Affair | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Alela Diane, Parson Redheads, Singleman Affair Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., June 9, 9:30 p.m. 2011

On her new album, Alela Diane & Wild Divine (Rough Trade), Portland-based singer Alela Diane gives her once-pastoral folk-rock a firm backbeat and lean, immediate arrangements, driving it into more mainstream terrain. This is her first record with a steady working band—her husband Tom Bevitori and her father Tom Menig man the guitars—but their road-honed attack doesn't tread on the sorrowful duskiness of her gorgeous, graceful melodies and even prettier singing. Diane's shimmery delivery reminds me of Tim Buckley's less extravagant performances; she pushes and pulls her melodies against a backdrop of strummed acoustic guitar, woozy pedal steel, and economical electric leads. Her lyrics are equally enigmatic and dark: on "The Wind" she sings, "Death is a hard act to follow," and on the murky, beautiful "Of Many Colors," a song written for her husband, she sings, "He's indigo in evening skies / Ebony on moonless nights." The album was produced by longtime R.E.M. cohort Scott Litt—who allegedly ended a seven-year hiatus after hearing Diane's demos—and he leaves the intimacy of her aesthetic intact, subtly but forcefully framing her powerful voice. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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