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Annika Bentley


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Deep, mournful evocative/eclectic ethereal blues

Status:

Most recent release, Live (2005); most recent album of new material, with leak, blink, & breath (2001)

See also:

Annika Bentley's site

Comparisons:

Janie Mitchell

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional covers especially in concert

General comments:

We received her CD at WBRS in the fall of 1998, and I was impressed and got in touch to arrange for her to bring her band to perform, which they did in April. (cos@wbrs.org)

I really like her music. She has a stripped-down but still lush sound and mournful vocals—the best description of her voice I can think of is that it's like a cello. And her music can also be quite lively—these aren't just slow songs. Interesting songwriting. She's doing some individual work here—different and more mournful than nearly anyone else, exploring a down, dark, deep, sound but with a delicate moodiness. She has already established herself as an artist whose career I'm going to follow with great interest and open ears. When Cos first mentioned her on the ecto list, I went to her website and downloaded the sound samples from there. At first they only kept me listening but haunted me enough that I sent for see you around, lifeguard which rapidly grew in my affections. Everything I've heard since then confirms that she's wonderful, creative, and highly ecto. And unforgettable. (Neile)

Wuh-oh... John has gotten yet ANOTHER case of immediately having fallen in love with an obscure female singer-songwriter! I went to Annika Bentley's site tonight and downloaded her song "In here as much to feel" and I'm so blown away and I'm sending her money for both her full-length and her EP... mmm! The piano in the song reminds me very very strongly of a piece called "Behold! a star from Jacob shining" that I sang with Florida All-State Chorus my Junior Year of high school, and her sense of classical chord progression in a more contemporary setting is really really powerful...her voice is just gorgeous, it has this honey clarity (yes, I know that's kind of contradictory, but I can't describe it any other way) and it is REALLY reminding me of somebody else, though I can't put my finger on whom precisely....
     Annika Bentley IS delightfully mournful. (John.Drummond)

Recommended first album:

Any

Recordings:


see you around, lifeguard

Release info:

1998—billy likes the samba whistle records

Availability:

See Annika Bentley's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for anyone willing to give it a chance

Group members:

annika bentley—all vocals, piano & guitar

Guest artists:

rebecca mccallum—violin
heather hutton—cello
kathleen fraser—acoustic bass

Produced by:

Annika Bentley and Kathleen Fraser

Comments:

I like it a lot, and it falls right in the core of ecto: distinctive female vocals, obscure skillfully written lyrics. Annika plays guitar on some songs, piano on others. Other musicians on this album play violin, cello, and acoustic bass (all four are women, by the way). (cos@wbrs.org

This is an album that intrigued me the instant I heard the whole thing. This is an accomplished and eerie album—dark and mournful, but also lively and delicate songwriting—very mature songwriting, especially for a first album. And (after a slightly shaky start to the song) probably the best cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" that I've ever heard. Highly, highly recommended for those who like to explore the edges of pop music. (Neile)


leisuretron ep

Release info:

1999—billy likes the samba whistle records

Availability:

See Annika Bentley's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Annika Bentley fans

Group members:

Annika Bentley—vocals, guitar, piano

Guest artists:

Kathleen Fraser—bass
Rebecca McCallum—violin
Heather Huttom—cello
Dennis Monroe—violin, guitar

Comments:

This ep has three versions of "in trepidation underwater" from see you around, lifeguard, an lp version, a radio edit, and live version so in some senses it can be seen as a single for that song. There are also live versions of a cover of Radiohead's "street spirit (fade out)" (I don't know Radiohead well enough to comment on how good or different this cover is), "one, two , she's blue" from see you around, lifeguard, and an excellent cover of Ani Difranco's "Joyful Girl". This shows that Annika Bentley is just as affecting live as on album—I'd love to catch her live. (Neile)

with leak, blink, & breath

Release info:

2001—billy likes records

Availability:

See Annika Bentley's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Annika Bentley—vocals, piano, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, glockenspiel

Guest artists:

Kathleen Fraser—double bass
Greg Gefell—pedal steel
Stacia Hassett—drums
Laura Hornbake—cello
Cheryl Kohfeld—viola
Brenda Robak—viola on 1 track
Giuseppe Testo—vocals on 1 track

Produced by:

Annika Bentley, Kathleen Fraser, Tony Gross

Comments:

This is so catchy and yet also emotionally affecting. The lyrics are allusive/elusive but also full of memorable lines. Her deep vocals are like a cello, dark and haunting. And contagious. This is a powerful and worthy and even stronger followup to see you around, lifeguard. More deep wonderful Annika Bentley! Highly, highly recommended. (Neile)

Live

Release info:

2005—Billy Likes Records—DMY 004

Availability:

See Annika Bentley's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Annika Bentley—vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, electric piano, sampler

Guest artists:

Ian Downey—cello, backing vocals on "What a Spell"
Kathleen Fraser—double bass, backing vocals on "Gloria Wrist"
Otto Hauser—drums, ebow

Comments:

I've been curious about Annika Bentley for some time, but this is the first album of hers I've heard. The songs are kind of unusual, so it's not the sort of thing that's immediately catchy. But I like it more with each listen. (JoAnn Whetsell)

THis is probably as good an introduction to Annika Bentley's work as anything. The quality is quite good, especially for a live ep. This reminds me how catchy and enchanting Annika Bentley's mournful ways are. (Neile)


Further info:

Write: billy likes the samba whistle records, p.o. box 10781, rochester, ny 14610-0781, usa; phone/fax 716-387-9186; email kathleen @ annikab . com

There is also a promotional video available by mailorder from the above address.


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 2012-10-06 21:52:34.
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