Given the fact that I’m a feminist, what I’m about to say makes me feel dang awful but the fact of the matter is that I dislike female artists. There’s no possible way for me to make that statement and come across as anything other than a pretentious bitch but I swear, I’ve reasoning behind it and my reasoning has nothing to do with the sex of the musician I’m listening to. You see, I’m a lyrics gal. I love well worded lyrics that I can relate to my life and frankly, I haven’t found a woman that can bring a tear to my eye even half as often as
What can I say? I was a middle schooler in the heyday or Lillith Fair and maybe the schlocky sentiments behind it just ruined a lot of female musicians for me.
That’s not to say there isn’t talent out there – I used to be an avid Cat Power fan and my favorite band for the past year has been Lightning Love. Agent Ribbons’ Chateau Crone is quickly becoming one of my favorite records of the year and early Joanna Newsom will always have a place in my heart (Let’s just not mention Have One On Me). But when a new female musician is introduced to me, I can’t help but feel slightly apprehensive, having flashbacks to the drivel that was Sarah McLachlan’s “Ice Cream”, a song that I truly believe might be the worst thing ever written.
Fellow contributor John asked me if I’d be willing to give the 4 song EP by French-By-Way-Of- Evian-les-Bains artist Madjo a listen and it wasn’t but ten seconds into the jaunty, charming opener “Trapdoor in a Wall” that I found all my misgivings disappear.
“Trapdoor in a Wall” seems to have emerged from a different era, mixing cheerful guitar and layered vocals that contrast Madjo’s gorgeously husky voice. “Je claque des doigts” capitalizes on my weakness for my motherland (Viva la
Madjo seems to lie somewhere in the ether between early Fiona Apple (only with a jolt of electric energy) and French chanteuse Keren Ann (only with much more sass) but it doesn’t seem to matter what name you drop. Much of Madjo is incomparable, a patchwork of her own foreign sensibilities and her influences, which range from The National and Sufjan Setvens to Bjork and Arcade Fire.
Madjo ends her EP haunting “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, a tragic story of a song that is the perfect showcase for the range and strength of Madjo’s deeply affecting voice.
The only shame here is that Madjo doesn't have but four songs readily availible for you to fall in love with. Come September 13th, however, that will change as Madjo's debut, Trapdoor, will find it's way to shelves near you or, at the very least, the internet.