Bands to Watch #33: Nicole Atkins

By on Friday, 3rd October 2008 at 11:45 am

New Jersey has a lot to be grateful for. The Four Seasons, Dionne Warwick and Lauryn Hill are just a couple of its greatest exports.

But now we make way for another.

Nicole Atkins is unlike anything you have heard before and I say this because she sounds like Roy Orbison and plays a mean guitar.

Her debut album, Neptune City, is big and dreamy. It will whisk you off your feet and carry you on a cloud to the sound of surf-guitar ballads and hazy piano melodies.

Produced by Tore Johansson (OK Go, Franz Ferdinand, Cardigans, New Order, Saint Etienne) it sounds like it came from anywhere but a small town New Jersey gal.

Having left her native city in the 90’s to seek fame in New York, she pays tribute to the shore town she was raised in. She calls out the bridges, bars and ex-boyfriends that she left behind.

Now older and wiser, Atkins calls her music pop-noir; it’s a little bit country, at times psychedelic with a dash from early musicals.

‘The Way It Is’ is my favourite track of the album. Atkins’ throaty vocals and frank lyrics against the backdrop of the orchestra is a contrast between old and new, not quite motown, not quite rock. And it is completely unique, just like her.

Fans of Rufus Wainwright and KD Lang need to check this one out.

MP3: Nicole Atkins – Maybe Tonight

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