Strangers

Marissa Nadler, 2016

Almost without break, I've maintained a subscription to the Wire—that venerable British music magazine—for 20+ years. It used to be, I'd read every single issue, cover-to-cover; I also used to have a lot more free time. I still make a point of skimming through the month's reviews (which is usually about half any given issue). I make sure to read the Invisible Jukebox and the Epiphanies sections. Though I make a point of reading some of the interviews with artists I don't already know, I try to keep a policy of giving up them if they don't grab me soon enough. The interview with Marissa Nadler's grabbed me. Based as much on the journalists descriptions of her music as her own statements (the Wire has always excelled at talking about how music sounds), I thought I'd give her newest album a listen.

Strangers has a heavy-lidded, twilit feel that reminds me of the best Mazzy Star songs—but vaporous instead of earthy. It's casts a mood of melancholy without tipping over into heartache. Her tunes are dark and sometimes heavy but always drift lightly. Considering it's—at heart—folk music, Nadler carves a unique alcove within it, all her own.

After having listened a few times to Strangers online, that evening I was making what would be my last trek to Other Music. My go-to record store was shutting down and I wanted to spend one more afternoon amongst their racks. As luck would have it, there was Nadler's album, staring at me with a fetching price on it's cover.