Monday, October 1, 2007

The Monster Mash

Remember those girls at school who were a little bit too scary to be cute? The sort of girl who'd fix you with a luminous, blue-eyed smile and suggest roasting marshmallows on the burning embers of your principal's car? That's what I imagine Nellie McKay is like.

The kooky curly New Yorker won loads of rave reviews for her debut album Get Away From Me (a rebuke to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me), whose cute jazz songs featured couplets like "Give me head or you'll be dead" and "Salute the flag or I'll call you a fag".

Then she got a bit too big for her boots, and flounced away from Sony because they (sensibly) remarked that her shrill, precocious second album, Pretty Little Head, would be a commercial disaster.

She released it on an independent label. It flopped.

But now she's back, with more of the tunes and wit, and less of the self-indulgent lunacy (A duet with Cyndi Lauper, you say? A thousand times no.)

Her third album, Obligatory Villages, came out in the US last week. There's no release date for the UK yet, but one of the stand-out tracks, Zombie, has made its way over to Pitchfork, and resulted in the following home-spun, night-of-the-living-dead Youtube promo. It will eat your brains.

Nellie McKay - Zombie

And if that's not enough, here she is doing one of the stand-out tracks from her debut album on Jools Holland. It contains my all-time favourite lyric: "You had some time to spare. You were barking at a bear."

Nellie McKay - Ding Dong

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