We are about to embark on The Recommender’s end of year lists. We plan our usual ‘Top 40 Tracks Of 2011′, as well as our ‘Best Albums Of 2011′ and our usual end-of-year summaries. Obviously every blog and website is at it, so there’s a danger of ‘list fatigue’ for the readers, as they scan one lengthy opinion after another, but they’re clearly not that put off as blogs typically see their traffic actually rise in December, as lists go viral and the Google and Hype Machine searches drive lots of results in their direction. Today we want to point out an artist that we actually discovered on one of these lists, proving that ultimately they’re not just a batch of self-indulgent blog posts, but often a bountiful resource. Credit to the fantastic music blog, Crack In The Road, a blog we frequent all year, as their version of the ‘Sound Of 2012‘ delivered Chelsea Burgin to our music folder. And what a find. Seriously.
We immediately got in touch with her, to find out more and the response was one of the most confusing biographies we’ve ever received! She detailed the history of a new five-piece band called Jackie & The Stabbs, who this week uploaded their new EP online. It turns out that she’s also their singer and had assumed that’s what we were enquiring about. The band are OK, but one thing is sure, the real talent is with Chelsea as a solo artist. Once we cleared up the coincidental mix up she sent us her own story. She started writing whilst studying at art college (she’s currently a freelance graphic designer, although we expect her career to shift once the attention of the record labels catch onto her extraordinary musical skills). She is originally from Toledo, Ohio but now living in Columbus, Ohio, where she’s enjoyed mixing with a batch of “creative people“. It’s obviously done her good, as she’s turned out dozens and dozens of demos (which can be located on her Soundcloud here), all of which are stripped-down, beautiful, melodic pop ballads. Her voice has a broken melancholy that’s perfectly suited to this style of song-writing, so emotive and personal that it stops you in your tracks. It’s music for midnight. It’s music for you at your most private and personal.
We’ve selected three highlights to show off to you below, taken from the lengthy list on offer, including a brand new one, Mad Man, which we had the privilege of hearing before anyone else. It’s one of her best, showing a solo artist that’s clearly developing her craft at every turn. Again it’s minimal and patient, with her signature husky vocals and a melody that picks you up and carries you throughout. It’s a trick she continues with No Love, but this time she introduces guitar riffs and beats where before there were none, filling the background and showing that she can still stand out whether backed by a band or standing alone. It’s with this track that her voice is found at it’s purest. If Lana Del Rey arrived without the irritating back story or the collagen-filled pout then these two would be a direct comparison. With a major label, an expensive video, an even more expensive production, who knows how big Chelsea could get. It just goes to show how useful hype, rather than song-craft, can be as the talent on show with Chelsea is arguably better. If there was any justice this is the star that would shine brightest.
Fall Weather is perhaps the best track available to date, although there are plenty of other contenders, as it comes in waves and echoes, providing a slightly different aesthetic to that of the other tracks. The smoke-filled melody pulses behind her and the empty-chamber vocals sound like the ghost of Dusty Springfield singing to you from another realm. This is the patient sound of an Autumnal leaf finally breaking away from it’s parent tree and drifting to the ground – virtually silent and weightless, but brittle and delicate. It’s full of cinematic imagery, like the soundtrack to a beautiful girl smoking seductively in a 1960s Roman Planski movie. This is without doubt one of The Recommender’s favourite artists that we’ve had the pleasure of stumbling upon this year, which really is saying something considering how many we plough through in a twelve month period. Just like her exceptional music this discovery has a special, personal and perfect atmosphere to it. Her music is perfectly designed to soundtrack your quieter moments, which should suggest that she’s commercially attractive, as we all have plenty of those don’t we. Time it right, perhaps during the months of Winter or Fall, make sure you’re on your own, slip on your headphones, close your eyes and let Chelsea Burgin serenade you. (MB)
CHELSEA BURGIN – FALL WEATHER
CHELSEA BURGIN – NO LOVE
CHELSEA BURGIN – MAD MAN