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Poe


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative rock/pop

Status:

Most recent release, Haunted (2000)

See also:

Poe's site

Wikipedia's entry on Poe

(A fan site)

Comparisons:

Hard to pinpoint. Has been compared to Tracy Bonham, Portishead, Liz Phair, Garbage, among others

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Apparently the name Poe comes from a Halloween costume based on an Edgar Allen Poe story. The All-Music Guide describes her as "reflective, confrontational, passionate, bittersweet, playful, organic, theatrical, intimate, stylish, literate, sophisticated, Nocturnal, Cathartic, Brooding." I actually like that long list of adjectives because they give a sense of the variety of her moods and music, particularly on Haunted. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Poe definitely reminds me of some sort of Liz Phair/Suzanne Vega hybrid (but with a much better voice than Liz Phair, in my opinion). (bye@humnet.ucla.edu)

Comments: about live performance

I've seen Poe mentioned a few times here, and in fact posted some things about her album myself, as I've become a big fan of her jazzy, alternative, almost Portishead-like sound. But this was about as far from an Ecto show as you could imagine. The crowd was very young, most under 21, and most there to see the headliner, Seven Mary Three. The show started with Poe telling us she was going to start with something quiet, just her and her cello player, and together they launched into "That Day". The crowd noise barely subsided. Most people were there to see a rock concert and had never heard of Poe. At the song's instrumental break, the cello player kicked on a distortion pedal, and started to produce sounds like I've never heard from that instrument! It was a sign of things to come, as the cello player has a bag of great tricks he uses throughout the set, and proved to be one of the most interesting parts of Poe's sound.
     The quietness ended with the first song. The band rocked hard for the rest of the set, doubling the energy of most of the songs on Hello. During "Choking The Cherry," Poe sang the last half of the song through a megaphone that had a mic taped to it, another trick I'd never seen, but it worked great for the song. This girl is dead-on live, with great range and incredible power, strong and accurate throughout, and the band is tight! I like hard-rocking shows as long as they're good, and that's just what this turned out to be. She won the rock crowd over, and had them totally into it and clapping in beat by the time she got to "Trigger Happy Jack." That was followed by the only new, non-album song of the show, one I really liked called "How Long". She did her goodbye routine after the song, and the band went into a heavy electric groove as Poe left the stage and waked into the audience. The mosh pit started. The crowd was moshing to Poe!
     I liked Poe before seeing this show...I love her now! Don't go if you're in the mood for a light acoustic evening though. (c. 1996, carnivore@bigfoot.com)

Recommended first album:

Haunted

Recordings:


Hello

Release info:

1995—Modern Records—CD 92605

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Poe—vocals, piano, additional programming on "Fingertips" and "Another World"

Guest artists:

Matt Sorum—drums
Jon Brooks—drums for Vibe #5 on "Choking the Cherry"
Dean Pleasants—guitar, guitar for Vibe #5 on "Choking the Cherry"
Tony Wilson—guitar
Jeffrey Connor—bass guitar, bass, bass and guitar for Vibe #5 on "Choking the Cherry," bass programming
Joey Grossman—guitar
Cameron Stone—cello
Sean Uberoi Kelly—guitar, bass, programming
Jeffery L. Walker, Jr.—keyboards, keyboard programming, additional programming on "Junkie"
Eric Garcia—keyboard, guitar
Alex Blanc—guitar
Richard Barrow—flute
Keli Givens—trumpet
Joseph "Amp" Fiddler—keyboards
RJ Rice—keyboards, programming
Ronnie Estelle—programming
Lionel Cole—programming
JD—programming

Produced by:

Dave Jerden (executive producer), RJ Rice, Poe, Jeffrey Connor

Comments:

I dislike and love this CD at the same time (the whole album that is). But I find myself playing it repeatedly. It's somehow, strangely, infectious. I think I really like it! Lots of different stuff on here...really soulful and jazzy at times, great modern-rock energy at others, and I'm reminded of Portishead with the sampling in some of the songs. Solid stuff, I'd like to see her perform live. The "Trigger Happy Jack" CD single includes an acoustic version of the song, which is interesting but not great. If you're a real fan you might want to track it down though. The "Trigger Happy Jack" EP has a non-album track on it called "Padre Fear", which I really like...it has a great hook and that cool Poe hippy-hoppy rhythm that is the trademark sound on her album. Plus there are 3 versions of "Trigger Happy Jack" for your psycho listening pleasure, as well as the album version of "That Day". (carnivore@bigfoot.com)

After hearing her compared to Ruby and Garbage favorably, I bought her album and was really disappointed. It seemed really dance-clubbish and the few words I could make up were so creepy that I literally got grossed out and couldn't listen to it. Am I completely alone in this? Or did anyone else have the same negative reaction to this album? (sagetodd@postoffice.ptd.net)

I've compared her stylistically to Ruby and Garbage, but I'd have to call Poe's Hello my third favorite of the three. I like "Trigger-Happy Jack"—although not as much as I did the first time I heard it—and "Fingertips," but I find the rest of the album kind of adolescent. I feel largely the same way about Garbage's album; it's had no staying power for me. (lissener@wwa.com)

OK, I've been meaning to mention Poe here for a while... anyone familiar? I've really grown to like her album, Hello. My discovering her was strange... I spotted Hello in the used rack and immediately grabbed it, thinking, "I've been looking for this." But I had never heard her music—or even her name—before. I probably was confusing Poe with a band that had been mentioned favorably on the Cranes list. I listened to the disc in the store and, well, I didn't like it. Under someone else's recommendation and the sneaking suspicion that the album would grow on me, I eventually went back and bought it.
     Grow it did. I really didn't like Hello the first three times I heard it, but on the fourth—ba-bING! Once I was familiar with the songs, I was hooked.
     What does it sound like? Well, the track that is getting airplay right now, "Trigger Happy Jack" has some grungy kind of sounds, as do two others on the album. A couple are quiet singer-songwriter type things. But most of the songs are very trip-hoppy. Sounds like Portishead sung by Edie Brickell.
     The title track, "Hello" also is the only song I know of to mention modems. The song is about communication in general, with an emphasis on digital communication. Pretty cool.
     Ruby lite? Despite the sentiments of "Angry Johnny" and "Trigger Happy Jack," I just don't think Poe has the same intensity as Ruby. But she's still very good and in a similar vein. She bangs it hard on a couple of tracks, goes trip-hop on others. Strangely, she seems to carry that ol' female singer-songwriter air with her, but it's never intrusive. It's just the way she is. Good stuff. Great concert, too. :)
     I am still amazed I like this thing—does anyone else? (maeldun@i-2000.com)

It's not a bad disc. It's definitely on the "poppy" side, and a bit "experimental". Most lyrics are ectoish, but the music is a bit more upbeat. There are times where—musically and vocally, since she overdubs (right word?) herself—she reminds me of mary's danish. There are other times where she reminds me of Nan Vernon. It's quite difficult placing a finger on the type of style she has. I like it. The lyrics can be complex. I definitely do recommend it. I really like this one. If I was to separate my list into "pop" and "non-pop", then this would go to the top of the "pop" list. A good debut. (Matt.Bittner)

Didn't really much like the single "Trigger Happy Jack", but really like the album. Cool, funky, jazzy. Falling midway between Portishead and Ruby. Her voice really shines on the mellower jazzy tracks. This is an album I didn't expect to like much, but for some reason bought it anyway and was glad I did. I love almost every song on it—except for the singles. A wide array of musical styles. Another artist who I'm looking forward to watching grow. (jjhanson@att.net)

I've only had a chance to listen to it a couple of times, but so far so good. I don't think it will sit around and collect dust. I've seen people mention Portishead when they talk of this CD and yes, I can hear that too. Perhaps a little Björk thrown in there for good measure. But as is usually the case, I need to listen to it a few more times before passing final judgement. (kcd@cray.com)

whoever likened this to Portishead was spot on. less trippy, more solid, in stereo. poe's voice is very stylistically similar to what'shername from Portishead, but i find her words (they are hard to miss as they are very upfront) more meaty. both are coming from the same general place—a rhythmic foundation from hip hop and dance music, liberally sprinkled with some ambient, industrial, rock trappings. postmodern dance music? (woj@smoe.org)


Haunted

Release info:

2000—FEI/Atlantic—83362-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Poe—vocals, amp fiddling, computer programming, mixing

Guest artists:

Samantha and Melissa Rogers, Madison Rubeli—voice of Poe as a child
Tad Z. Danielewski—voice of Poe's father
Priscilla Loeb—voice of Poe's mother
Mark Z. Danielewski—voice of Poe's brother, whistler
Poe's teacher in Spain—voice of Spanish teacher
Daris Adkins—most guitar parts
Heitor Periera, Arik Marshall, Emerson Swinford, John O'Brien—priceless performances
Mike "la bomba" Elizondo—bass
Josh Freese, Trevor Lawrence, Jr., Michael Urbano, Joey Waronker—drums
Kenneth Burgomaster, Jamie Muhoberac—most keyboards
John O'Brien—additional keyboards, Akai programming
Olle Romo—amp fiddling, computer programming, most drum edits
Benmont Tencho—amp fiddler
Patrick Warren—chamberlin
Jerry Hey—trumpet, horn arrangements on "Hey Pretty"
Gary Grant—trumpet
Bill Reichenbach—trombone
Brandon Fields—saxophones
David Campbell—viola, string arrangement on "Lemon Meringue"
Charlie Bisherat—violin
Larry Corbett—cello
Mike Shipley, Dave Reitzas, David Thoener, Tim Palmer, Ed Cherney—mixing

Produced by:

Poe and Ole Romo; Matt Wilder, Matt Wallace, John O'Brien, Mike Urbano

Comments:

Wow—it's quite a compelling album—very ambitious—sort of like The Beatles' White Album or something—lots of sampling between songs—but the songs are great! Really rocking but beautiful too. Kind of reminds me of Garbage at times. Really a confident, masterfully produced album. Poe puts out an adventurous, complex, rocking concept album. A great ambitious leap forward. Strong vocals, and some really catchy material. The interspersed recordings of her father's voice do get a bit tiresome after repeated listenings, but the great songs make up for it. Here Poe shows she can be as rocking as Liz Phair ("I'm Not a Virgin Anymore") or Garbage ("Wild"), as well as writing some pretty complex, but still accessible and catchy pop material. While not the strongest voice singing today, there's something about her voice that I just love. (jjhanson@att.net)

The Poe CD is excellent. Very multi-layered production, I love it. (zzkwhite@ktwu.wuacc.edu)

as one of the resident over-critical grumps, yes, i thought Poe's second cd was a major improvement over the first; I thought it had at least a couple very strong songs, esp. the title track (vs. the first which in my opinion was just "okay"—not offensive, certainly, but also not very memorable). There is at least one song which I would've cut completely ("Not a virgin anymore;" embarrassing) and a few that I would've edited, but on the whole it's a pretty solid listen—I'd rate it more consistent than, say, Dido's No Angel disc, and I think the peaks are comparably high. I didn't pay retail for it, but I don't think I'd've felt ripped-off if I had. (dmw@mwmw.com)

If you haven't checked out Haunted yet, you should. It's a mindblower. Nothing like her first album whatsoever. You really should find a chance to listen to it from beginning to end, because it is like a journey, an exploration. And it is a bit of a spooky album, as well. Poe's father died in 1993 (if I remember correctly), and she found tapes of his lectures, and she samples him in the music...This album is almost like she is trying to face him, to come to some sort of closure with his death, and then in the end, she can finally let him go. If you've only got a chance to check out just a few songs, try "Haunted", "Control", "Walk the Walk", "Wild", and "If You Were Here". "Haunted" is very pretty, "Control" is empowering, "Walk the Walk" is fun, "Wild" is an awesome, awesome, awesome song, and "If You Were Here" is incredibly pretty and kinda sad. (Dracovixen@aol.com)

an enthusiastic double thumbs up to Haunted. It's a great album, and has been virtually living in my cd changer since I got it. Quite different from her first cd, and much more mature. The spoken word parts are quite interesting, and they are the only "lyrics" that appear in the cd booklet. It's full of complexities in the way it weaves phone conversations, her father's voice, etc. with the songs, complexities that I haven't figured out yet. But it's also full of songs that stand on their own, so you can just listen to it that way, and it's still fantastic. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Discoveries for the year. One word: Poe. I found Haunted to be the first thing that has come out in a very very long time that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It's a wonderful stream of consciousness that has intelligent lyrics, well-crafted but not sugary hooks,...what's not to like? I found myself making comparisons to so many artists: Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Tracy Bonham ("Not A Virgin Anymore"...anyone? anyone? Is this not a Tracy Bonham-like tune?), Sarah McLachlan, and others that I can't even remember. BUT, Poe is greater than the sum of those comparisons. I find this disc to be extremely accessible, and appeals to people with all sorts of tastes. (JavaHo@aol.com)


Further info:

Poe's music appears on Lounge-a-Palooza and the soundtracks to Great Expectations and Anywhere But Here.

Fan club: Victoria Blake Management, 20750 Ventura Blvd, Suite 160, Woodland Hills, CA 91364, USA


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2016-04-06 21:30:27.
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