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Monday Music Muse: Lisa Hannigan

Dodging SXSW mediocrity, or what a floating head has to do with the BBC.

As we’re slowly digesting the usual mix of the good, the bad and the unfortunately mediocre from this year’s SXSW, we’ll spare you the latter two by focusing on the former: One of our favorite SXSW performers was actually an old indie favorite of ours.

Lisa Hannigan‘s brand of vocal delight and instrumental perfection is part Emiliana Torrini‘s charmingly off-quilter vibe, part Ingrid Michaelson‘s soft intensity, part the haunted harmonies of Fleet Foxes. In other words, Damien Rice and Vampire Weekend rolled into one big Y chromosome.

The Damien Rice comparison isn’t at all groundless. Lisa made her name accompanying Damien — they’ve recorded a number of fantastic duets, most notably the brilliant Cold Water. They even have a surprisingly well-directed video to their credit.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, the two parted ways nearly two years ago when Lisa left the band due to creative differences. But her first post-Damien solo album, Sea Sew, is superb — so we won’t go writing her off as a has-been piggybacker just yet.

Lisa’s SXSW performance of Lille was breathtaking — luckily for you, the track is a free download on Amazon, so do take advantage. And, while you’re at it, consider the Sea Sew album in its entirety — it’s excellent from start to finish, a rarity with album releases these days.

Published March 23, 2009




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