Mad lulling

Mia Doi Todd's dark folk
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  March 4, 2008
Mia Doi Todd

Attendees of this week’s José González show on March 13 at the Paradise will be treated to an opening set from LA’s Mia Doi Todd. Caffeinate yourself beforehand, for she’s mad lulling. Not boring, mind you: her particular filtration of dark folk leaves in plenty of heart but subtracts the melodrama, making for some crisp, clean, plainly poured catharsis, with trace amounts of Joni Mitchell, Chan Marshall, and Sylvia Plath. Here are a few tracks you can find on line . . .

“River of Life”
If Todd has seemed a little too proper in the past, this single from her newest release, Gea (City Zen), is a sign of some long-overdue loosening up. She’s not swinging her suddenly big hair around or anything, but she’s more settled into the simplicity of her arrangements, and it’s comfy for everybody.

“The Way”
I saw Todd perform this song with just a guitar downstairs at the Middle East, and, boy, was it depressing. Really dark; gratuitously brooding. This full-band version from 2005’s Manzanita (Plug) is much, much better. Punchy, simple, and reminiscent of those first couple of Cat Power albums in more good ways than one.

“Rock My Boat”
In 2001, Todd collaborated with indie electronica producer Dntel on the track “Anyone Anywhere.” Its glitchy vistas were a nice change of scenery but sounded as if someone had spilled DayQuil on a PowerBook. This 2007 reunion of the two is straiter-laced, but the melody’s uneven footing and dreamy slow-jam pace give it a spookiness well suited to Todd’s own.

“Norwegian Wood”
Buy the whole MP3 if you please, but a one-minute preview of Todd’s tame take on “Norwegian Wood” is all I needed to recall why she sometimes reminds me of the lady who spent two weeks teaching my second-grade music class four-part harmonies for “Scarborough Fair.”

Related: Guest lists, Slideshow: Tattoo you, Playlist: June 1, 2007, More more >
  Topics: Download , Mia Doi Todd, Jose Gonzalez, Cat Power,  More more >
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