Nina Nastasia Dogs

[Touch and Go; 2004]

Styles: pop music, lo-fi, singer/songwriter
Others: Edith Frost, Townes Van Zandt, Cat Power, Joanna Newsom, Scout Niblett

Ever tried to build the perfect woman? If you're a guy, you probably have. Just in your head -- piece by piece, stealing recklessly from every barely remembered crush on the girl you pass on the street, through to your most intense whirlwind romance; trying to roll every bittersweet irrational moment, you found yourself falling in love again, into one perfect imaginary partner...

And then along comes Nina Nastasia, takes my silent fantasy and crushes it, with a grace and beauty so understated you can barely see it move, with a subtle, elegant music that slides, swoons, and reverberates with every impulsive halt and unfurling string melody. Irreverent song structures render song structures irrelevant as unexpected pauses highlight Nina's voice, suddenly just a soothing, sweet, and sensuous trickle over amplified silence or muted guitars -- bursting into life with a viola phrase that whispers a thousand years of tradition yet manages to keep itself a thousand options open.

Try and build a record from Joni Mitchell's storytelling and bare humanity, Chan Marshall's intoxicating fall-in-love-with-me air, Scout Niblett's naive energy, and VV's gently all-knowing lust for life and, well, lust...

Get the relevance of 'trying to build the perfect woman' yet?

You see, Dogs, Nastasia's recently re-released first album, is all delicately fashioned songs about love -- love lost, yearned for and imagined, all underpinned by drug addiction, death, and desperation. You could say that these are songs of a truly bittersweet magic, set in a world where their aesthetically hidden darkness goes unnoticed, unremarkable. Or you could say that I've fallen in love with Nina Nastasia

Either way Dogs is a record full of self-contradictory beauty and self-explanatory innocent revelations, moments where cynicism abdicates in favor of pure acquiescence. Moments where falling and love and dying seem okay again, and all at once. So play Nina's songs softly, in the dark, and let yourself run away, as you try to build your perfect woman, but don't be surprised when you fall in love with her instead.

1. Dear Rose
2. Oblivion
3. Judy's in the Sandbox
4. Underground
5. A Dog's Life
6. A Love Song
7. Stormy Weather
8. Smiley
9. Roadkill
10. Nobody Knew Her
11. Too Much in Between
12. Jimmy's Rose Tattoo
13. The Long Walk
14. All Your Life
15. 4 Yrs

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