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Eliza Rickman


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Beautiful & fierce alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, O, You Sinners (2012)

See also:

Eliza Rickman's site

Eliza Rickman's MySpace page

Comparisons:

Marissa Nadler

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional covers

General comments:

She's quirky and twisted, and sings lovely songs whilst playing a toy piano. Some of her work is a cappella, with looping.
      She's just at the beginning of her career, with a 6-song CD and some videos. I hope we'll hear a lot more from her. (brni @ kappamaki . com) Who knew someone could pull off an album where the dominant musical instrument is toy piano? Well, maybe that's because the dominant instrument is really Eliza Rickman's gorgeous voice. Add to that strong songwriting, and her sound is a winner. She's incredibly talented and while the idea of using a toy piano sounds like a it must be a gimmick, once you hear how percussively she uses it, you'll understand how it is so much more than that in her music. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

Eliza has a lovely soprano with pretty vibrato and it suits her sweet goth-and-Victoriana aesthetic.
     She writes within the limits of her skills with the instruments—her piano songs in particular have conventional melodies, the most basic time signatures and structures. Most of the songs don't have a dynamic structure with any peaks or diversions; they're slow/medium paced verse-chorus-v-c-v-c... in a measured way that can lull you but doesn't demand attention.
     The toy piano further limits her so those songs (e.g. "Cinnamon Bone," "Black Rose") are very plink plonk, but that instrument is different enough that in small doses these songs feel more distinct.
     Best perhaps were the unaccompanied numbers where Eliza sampled her hand claps, breathes and weird vocalizations for a backing track.
     She also played a cute tune about Napoleon with a bird whistle and sing-a-ma-jig toy. This song skipped and danced more than the other keyboard numbers. Eliza said that'll be the Kickstarter extra track because it doesn't fit with the sadder songs on the upcoming album. The final song she played had a lovely soaring melody line over a wheezing accordion dirge. Eliza said that she'd had one accordion lesson and had learnt "Mary Had a Little Lamb." In a way not knowing how to play an instrument resulted in better music than half-knowing. (k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz, 5/11)

Recommended first album:

O, You Sinners

Recordings:


Gild The Lily EP

Release info:

2009

Availability:

See Eliza Rickman's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Eliza Rickman—vocals, toy piano, toy glock, viola arrangement

Guest artists:

Quinn Karges—viola (2)
Robert C. E. DeLong—stomping, bucket-shaking (4)

Produced by:

Eliza Rickman and Robert C. E. DeLong

Comments:

This is a startling strong debut. It's only six tracks, but two of them are *brilliant* ("Cinnamon Bone" and "Black Rose") and the rest merely strong. I'm not stuck on her cover of "Moon River" but that may be the song rather than her performance of it. In any case, I highly, highly recommend tracking this down. (Neile)

O, You Sinners

Release info:

2012

Availability:

See Eliza Rickman's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Eliza Rickman—vocals, piano, toy piano, accordion, wine glasses, desk bells

Guest artists:

Robert DeLong—drums, percussion, wine glasses, prepared piano
Alex Russell—violin
Caleb Russell—violin
Rosalyn Torto—viola
Karen Hull—cello
Tom V. Ray—upright bass
Kevin O'Donnell—drums (6)
Quinn Karges—viola (7)
Mark Greenberg—reed organ & wineglasses (10)

Produced by:

Mark Greenberg and Eliza Rickman

Comments:

O, You Sinners more than fulfills the promise of the Gild The Lily EP. Each song is so wonderfully woven that each demands attention and it's hard to pick out favourites. Certainly there doesn't seem to be a single weak spot. (Neile)

One of the best albums of the year. (gordoja@optonline.net, jjhanson@att.net, stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2014-02-16 23:19:30.
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