Mia Doi Todd - Manzanita (2005)

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Mia Doi Todd - Manzanita (2005)
Artist: Mia Doi Todd
Title Of Album: Manzanita
Year Of Release: 2005
Label: Plug Research
Genre: Folk-Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Quality: Mp3
Bitrate: 320 kbps
Total Time: 00:38:44
Total Size: 113 Mb
WebSite: discogs.com

Tracklist:

01. The Way (05:17)
02. What If We Do? (03:38)
03. My Room Is White (04:17)
04. The Last Night Of Winter (06:40)
05. Muscle, Bone & Blood (03:57)
06. Casa Nova (03:03)
07. Luna Lune (03:06)
08. Tongue-tied (02:08)
09. Deep At Sea (03:37)
10. I Gave You My Home (03:05)

Following the potentially career-ending botch of her sole major-label album The Golden State, on which solo acoustic songs from her earlier indie albums were drenched with producer Mitchell Froom's inappropriate keyboards and a listless, un-complementary backing band, Mia Doi Todd retreated to indiedom. Signing with the electronica-oriented label Plug Research suggests that Todd recognized that The Golden State's flaws were in its execution, not its concept, and this album's remix version, 2006's La Ninja: Amor and Other Dreams of Manzanita, turned out to be a delight. Todd later applied those lessons to 2008's Gea, a partially electronic full-band record that better complemented Todd's vocals, piano, and acoustic guitar with fuller-sounding arrangements. In this context, Manzanita itself sounds like a transition: overall, the focus is back on Todd's own voice, guitar and keyboards, but "The Way," a collaboration with heavy psych stalwarts Dead Meadow, starts the album with a prominent drum-and-bass groove overlaid with psychedelic electric guitar drones. (There's even a backwards guitar solo!) As that encouraging opener shows, this time out, the arrangements are more thoroughly integrated with the songs: "What If We Do," with its shimmering lap steel solo, and the '70s-style orchestrated soft rock (complete with a seemingly deliberately Burt Bacharach-like muted trumpet part) of album high point "The Last Night of Winter" are among the best songs of Todd's lengthy and prolific career. (The latter song also shows off Todd's sometimes startling vocal resemblance to Joni Mitchell: her conservatory-trained voice is lower and smokier than Mitchell's piercing soprano, but Todd's jazzy phrasing sounds directly influenced by her precursor.) The full-band tracks are interspersed with solo piano or guitar songs like the haunting "Muscle, Bone and Blood" and the beautiful, homely romanticism of "I Gave You My Home" that recall Todd's early, completely solo recordings. The ease with which Manzanita balances the solo and band recordings only serves to underscore the heavy-handed qualities that weakened The Golden State.

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