BBC: Sam Phillips's "Don't Do Anything" Is "An Album to Get Deliriously Lost Within"
Sam Phillips is on the road with songs from her latest release, Don't Do Anything, as well as past favorites. The BBC's Michael Quinn, in his review of the new album, says Sam makes "smokey, sassy, sultry, smart-as-a-whip" music. He writes:
Cleverly, Philips shrouds everything in an almost palpably incorporeal atmosphere (yes, that's how topsy-turvy it really is!) conjured out of distorted, twanging guitars, thumping to the point of booming percussion, viscous piano lines and breathy, broken, vulnerable vocals that bypass your ears and inject themselves straight into your bloodstream. The result is an album to get deliriously lost within.
Quinn calls the album's title track "a sublime exercise in playful sophistry, delivered with a beautifully understated lightness of touch," compares other tunes to an "Elvis Costello-like riot" or containing "a caustic, clattering Tom Waits backdrop," and describes another as "a perfect Phillips concoction—any number of styles (and a myriad number of emotions) corralled together in one compact, bleakly beautiful miniature."
It is an album, he concludes, "full of intrigue and dark-hued beauty."
To read the review, visit bbc.co.uk.
Sam's tour stop at the Rams Head in Annapolis, Maryland, was broadcast live last night on NPR.org and captured for the All Songs Considered live online concert series. The show's host, Bob Boilen, began the broadcast with this introduction:
I love her music, and what I love about her music is she really writes these miniature pop jewels. She does it with her words—her words are full of mystery and beautiful imagery; the music tends to be fairly dramatic and, at the same time, fairly subtle.
You can listen to the complete hour-plus concert at npr.org.
Prior to that show, Sam made her Albany debut at the WAMC Performing Arts Studio, one that the Albany Times Union's Greg Haymes was "long overdue" from this maker of "oh-so-smart music."
On the albums she has made for Nonesuch Records, starting with 2001's Fan Dance, that music is filled with "curious textures and atmospheres" of the sort Haymes calls "handmade ... quite a 21st-century rarity in the field of pop music ... Her penchant for finely crafted Beatlesque pop hooks bubbled up beneath the delicious clatter on several songs."
Furthermore, he credits Sam's vocal delivery with making "her probing, intelligent lyrics and her vibrant melodies all the more powerful." The review concludes: "It certainly sounds as if she's on the right path."
Read the concert review at timesunion.com.
Sam Phillips sings torch songs: Her imagistic lyrics crackle with flames, incinerators and heat, and they tell succinct tales of tortured emotions and of getting burned by love ... Phillips has become a master of resignation and of terse, poetic details.
Klinge considers her current sound "a sophisticated confluence of Kurt Weill, Tom Waits and late-period Marianne Faithfull, without any florid excesses."
Read the article at philly.com.
For more tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.