Who? From the rolling hills of San Francisco emergesCalifornia's latest offering to the neo-folk canon, in the form of26-year-old Emily Jane White and a ghostly charisma that sets herstarkly apart from peers like Brightblack Morning Light. A former UCSanta Cruz student, a four-track demo recording of White's sparse,smoldering tales caught the attention of Oakland indie label DoubleNegative Records, which released her debut album, Dark Undercoat this month. She also recorded the title track for Cam Archer's 2006 coming-of-age flick Wild Tigers I Have Known.
What's the Deal?It's plenty tempting to name Cat Power as White's closest soniccontemporary, but for all her songwriting skill Chan Marshall can'tevoke the blunt isolation that makes it easy to imagine White singingsolo in an empty country chapel at the end of a dirt road. Accompaniedby guitar and occasionally piano, White's laments make it clear she'staken a couple stabs in the heart -- "You close the coffin oneverything I've said" on "Dagger" -- but there are also rays ofoptimism on the hero ode "Bessie Smith" and the jaunty "Time On YourSide".
Fun Fact: Her current output might notsuggest it, but some of White's first musical explorations came as amember of punk and metal bands in college. She later branched off withher own group called Diamond Star Halos, and made her biggest leaps asa writer during a post-college trip to Bordeaux, France.
Now Hear This
Emily Jane White - "Sleeping Dead" DOWNLOAD MP3
Talk: Day or night -- when is the best time to hear Emily Jane White's tales of torment?