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Simon Wilcox


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Very eclectic. Specific tracks evoked jazz and independent rock to me; other tracks resemble other genres, but I was unable to identify specifically which ones. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Status:

Most recent release, The Charm and the Strange (2007)

See also:

Simon Wilcox's page

Simon Wilcox's MySpace page

Comparisons:

Rickie Lee Jones, Liz Phair, and a host of others I could not put my finger on. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

With Mongrel of Love there could also be some comparisons with Ani Difranco, especially in Simon Wilcox's particular kind of ferocity and honesty. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Own, occasionally co-written

General comments:

Wilcox has shown herself to be an extremely talented singer-songwriter with a good command of a wide range of styles. I hope we'll be hearing a lot more from her in the future. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

I can only repeat what Mitch says here, but also to stress that with all the range of styles in her sound there is a consistent thread of strong musical personality running through it—something that always marks the styles with her stamp. Unlike the situation with many artists who are all over the stylistic map when you feel they don't quite know where they belong, the range of genres Simon Wilcox's music draws from feels more that she can with assurance claim all this music territory as her own. She's not wandering around looking for a home—it's all her home. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Mongrel of Love

Recordings:


Mongrel of Love

Release info:

1999—Hyponotizing Boogie—HB2699-2

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Very highly recommended

Group members:

Simon Wilcox—acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Dave Patel—drums, drills, stapleguns
Rich Pell—electric guitars, acoustic guitars
Ed Roman—upright bass, electric bass

Comments:

I really wish that this disk had come with printed lyrics. It's clear that Wilcox is a gifted wordsmith; I'm very taken with the cerebral words she has come up with for this music, but it is likely to take repeated listenings to absorb it all—not that it wouldn't continue to be very pleasurable to listen to. The musical styles represented are diverse; not all tracks reminded me of specific artists (arguably a sure sign of an original talent), but the jazzy first track, "Pigeontoed," exhibits the hipster sensibilities of early Rickie Lee Jones (cf. my review of Rachelle Garniez), while the title track evokes a tough-minded sexual independence reminiscent of Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville album. All in all, it's one of the best debut albums I've heard in the years I've been doing reviews for the Guide. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

I found this disc utterly addictive. It came in for review for The Ectophiles' Guide and I immediately had to get my own copy because I couldn't bear to let it out of my disc player. More than once I have found myself hitting repeat when the album ended, ready to hear it again immediately. It's one of those discs that is magically mood-altering for me—it always pulls me in. Simon Wilcox is wickedly talented and I can hardly wait to hear more from her (or to play this album yet again). an extremely catchy bluesy/folkie/jazzy disc which I will recommend to you all. (Neile)


Smart Function

Release info:

2003—SHE Records—SHE0002CD

Availability:

Wide in Canada; online ordering through MapleMusic.com or Amazon.ca

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Simon Wilcox—keyboards and vocals

Guest artists:

Justin Abedin—acoustic & electric guitars, dobro
JK—bass
Ron Lopata—wurlitzer, Rhodes, keys, programming
Davide Direnzo—drums

Produced by:

Ron Lopata

Comments:

Every time I get to the end of this album, I'm jolted. It all seems over so quickly, and at 36 minutes, it is. Maybe because I get swept up in the sound and feel of the album, swept along from song to song, without any songs that drag on or make me look at the clock. I put it on, get into the groove, and don't really notice where the time goes.
     So what is it about this album? In some ways its combination alterna/straightforward pop/rock doesn't seem all that different or exceptional. Yet it is. There are subtle things about Simon Wilcox, her voice and her music, that I can't quite pinpoint that make the album more intriguing and memorable than similar work on the shelves. A sort of edge, a little darkness maybe? A mixture of subtle influences from various genres? An undercurrent of something that growls, something unsafe?
     Yet it's all wrapped up in music that is accessible and catchy (in a slow groove sort of way, not a top 40 bouncy kind of way). I liked the album immensely on first listen, and while that can often be a bad sign of an album without much depth, that's not the case here. It's held up over repeated listens.
     So what is it about Smart Function? I don't know, and I'm not sure it really matters. I just turn it on and groove away, and when it's over I'm just glad I had the ride. I do wish she had printed the lyrics though (there are excerpts in the liner notes and full lyrics online). I get so into the sound of the album that I don't pay much attention to the lyrics; yet when I do I can tell there's something unique there too. But the music pulls me in and my attention slips away. (JoAnn Whetsell)

The Charm and the Strange

Release info:

2007—MapleMusic Recordings—MRCD6471

Availability:

Wide in Canada; online ordering through MapleMusic.com or Amazon.ca

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Simon Wilcox

Guest artists:

Pete Wilkinson
Simon Finley
Mike Moore
Justin Abedin
Tomi Swick
Ron Lopata
Ian Smith
Karen Graves
Kevin Fox
Saam Hashemi
Gavin Brown
Drew Birston

Produced by:

Simon Wilcox & Ron Lopata with additional production by Saam Hashemi

Comments:

Simon goes for more of a rock sound on her third album. I enjoy it, but people looking for a return from her foray into the mainstream will probably be disappointed. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

"Empty Sky" appears on the Brothers soundtrack (2009)


Thanks to Mitch Pravatiner and 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 2012-03-08 20:45:19.
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