Monday, October 24, 2016

Aldous Harding will make you weepy

The woman who once told Australia's Beat"I look a little bit upset when I dance," and "I want to write a song like 'Quicksand,' by golly!" is unexpectedly healthy-humored in the way that Fiona Apple could give a funny and self-deprecating interview about weed shortly after releasing the saddest collection of breakup songs imaginable, or the way Rosie Thomas has managed for years to split duties between singer-songwriter and playing Sheila.

New Zealand's Aldous (Hannah) Harding is dry and confident and makes the face of a boxer when she sings. Her singing accent is a goddamn mystery. And she makes some of the most stunning but dour folk around right now, lending lines like "here I find no peace at all" and "I would rather die than sleep tonight." She wouldn't be out of place positioned between Delia Murphy and Molly Drake on a long, dark day's listening, which is really to say that she's perhaps singing in character as an Irish housewife whose husband has left for war and won't return. Or, really, who is preparing for death. You might feel the same way listening to Harding that you felt listening to Lhasa's last record. If you go and see her sing at the Smell in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, you can ask her yourself where that voice comes from.

Purchase her self-titled record, which has been out for a bit in New Zealand and was slow to reach the rest of us.

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