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Elysian Fields


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

An evocative/eclectic bluesy/jazzy/rock mix

Status:

Most recent release, For House Cats and Sea Fans (2014)

See also:

Elysian Fields' site

Wikipedia's entry for Elysian Fields

Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow have released 2 albums as La Mar Enfortuna: La Mar Enfortuna (2001) and Convivencia (2007) and Oren Bloedow has released at least one solo CD: She Goes With Me To A Blossom World (2009)

Comparisons:

A quieter Babe The Blue OX? A less country more jazzy Mazzy Star or Cowboy Junkies? Someone even mentions Yes here.

Sharkboy, Barefoot Contessa. (afries@zip.com.au)

Covers/own material:

Own, some covers live

General comments:

They've been getting a lot of press lately and are better than the hype led me to believe. Jennifer Charles has a great voice: sexy, coy, playful, and the music behind her is superb: sometimes folky, sometimes jazzy, dissonant, and dirty but always palatable. In a way they remind me of a quieter Babe The Blue OX, but with fabulous keyboards. Great band—have to see them soon! Ecto Required Listening! (cjmacs@micronet.net)

elysian fields is great. (woj@smoe.org)

Elysian Fields are very amazing...I love the constant sexual allusion. "Bleed Your Cedar" in and of itself is allusive enough...and almost all of the other songs are that way...I especially love the hilariously-sexy part from "Sugarplum Arches" where the music stops and she mutters, "Let me be your salt lick salt lick salt lick let me be your salt sap wet lap dream!" They say Jennifer Charles used to be a performance artist, and I can see very well how that influences her lyrics. I think once you've gotten your brain wrapped around the lyrics, you'll see that she's actually extremely engaging and interesting...the whole thing is full of these weird sexual metaphors: "and you're some crazy fisherman, your lines on fire, you're caught in my tide, now you're inside me"...Jennifer Charles uses water imagery like the oceans are about to dry up, it's wild. But yeah, after having the album for awhile, you'll realize you either want Jennifer Charles, or you want to be Jennifer Charles...she's got that extreme sexual power mixed with that conflicted vulnerability and those fucked-up near-hallucinations...but they're waking dreams or visions, though, rather than anything drug-induced.
     Anyhow... enough gushing. (John.Drummond)

I loved the ep and I love the album. There is something in Jennifer Charles' voice that hits my heart right on. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)

Personally, I find Elysian Fields a bit too laid-back, detached and disengaged to excite or interest me, and at one point I found her vocals so lethargic I wasn't sure if she'd fallen asleep or I had. (afries@zip.com.au)

Comments about live performance:

I saw a great performance by Elysian Fields at Fez. I'd never had the chance to see Elysian Fields perform before, but I really loved Bleed Your Cedar and people had raved about shows they'd seen so I was expecting something special. I was not disappointed.
     Regardless of the skill of the rest of the band it's Jennifer Charles that makes Elysian Fields what it is and this was something that was readily apparent on Monday night. Her amazing languid, sultry voice (and a stage presence that could be described with more or less the same adjectives) pretty much captivated the entire audience.
     The set list consisted almost entirely of material that was written after Bleed Your Cedar was released, but a lack of familiarity with the songs didn't lessen my enjoyment in the slightest. The new stuff is amazing and I look forward to the day they're able to actually get their next album out. (6/99, mcurry@io.com)

I was at the same show, and was quite impressed as well, though it was all a bit too languid for the day I'd had. I had a hard time staying awake through some songs. The encore made it all worth it, though—a great jazz standard thing that went "when you're in love, nothing can be done". Jennifer Charles was born in the wrong decade—as the guy at the end of our table stated afterwards, "She's a starlet—and she knows it!" She and Oren Bloedow should just do a jazz gig. I'd pay money to see that. :) (6/99, meth@smoe.org)

Recommended first album:

Bleed Your Cedar

Recordings:


Elysian Fields (E.P.)

Release info:

1996—Radioactive Records, U.S.—RARD 11402

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Jennifer Charles—vocals
Oren Bloedow—guitar, bass guitar
Ed Pastorini—piano, guitar, vocals
James Genus—bass
Ben Perowsky—drums

Produced by:

Oren Bloedow and Ed Pastorini

Comments:

This is very definitely a CD for late night listening. Though there are some hypnotic melodies (esp. on "Star") and bluesy guitar playing ("Diamonds All Day'), the music is dominated by Jennifer Charles' voice, which brings with it images of dark, smoke-filled night clubs. It reminds me a bit of Mazzy Star, or the Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions, but with the southern/country overtones removed and replaced by seedy New York back streets and rain.
     Which is not to say that the CD is as good as Mazzy Star or the Cowboy Junkies. The trouble is, though they do an exceptionally good job of creating an atmosphere, they don't seem to explore or go anywhere with the atmosphere they've created. Perhaps it's because the CD is too short, but I'm left with a feeling as if I've walked into a very expensive restaurant, admired the ambience and decor, been impressed by the service as I was shown to a table and admired the place settings, but then had to leave before I could actually look at a menu or taste any food.
     So, I'm not sure I can give an unreserved recommendation, but it's worth checking out, and I suspect if they come out with a full-length album, I'll be getting that too. (1996, anthony@csr.lbl.gov)

i picked up the elysian fields' e.p. i found it to be an okay listen. their sound is a dark, smokey lounge, without the campy overtones, occasionally with a jazzy feel. jennifer charles' voice is like a becalmed sea: it sounds featureless, dispassionate and flat, but there is a suggestion of a hidden depth. she does sing a bit like hope sandoval of mazzy star, but i think that is more a function of how she sings as opposed to a true similarity of voice. i didn't recall liking this much until scanning the four tracks again and realizing that it was better than i remembered. (woj@smoe.org)


bleed your cedar

Release info:

1996—Radioactive Records, U.S.—RARD—11505-A

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jennifer Charles—vocals
Oren Bloedow—guitars
Ed Pastorini—piano, guitars, vocals
Ben Perowsky—drums
James Genus—bass

Comments:

I only got this album about a week ago (thanks for the recommendation) and I already love it enough for me to rank it as one of the best cds of the year. (mcurry@io.com)

I didn't like the ep that much, but this comes into focus better, and is fine music. It's loungy, smokey, bluesy, torchy. The lead singer, Jennifer Charles, is called sultry in a lot of reviews I've read of the album, and that certainly describes her singing style. (Neile)

Daaahmn! "Star" is just groovie, couldn't help myself from breaking into spontaneous dancing, even if on the couch. And "Rolling" is just orgasmic. Trouble is, I can't decide if I should file the disc under Pop/Rock or under Jazz/Blues/R&B. I can hear resemblances to both the music of Yes as well as some good ol' traditional jazz! (bill@wagill.com)

This was probably the only unknown band disc that I ever bought based on a description in a record club catalog. And I wasn't disappointed. The Bleed Your Cedar album has grown on me more and more since buying it. Kinda haunting, with a wide dynamic range. Good sultry vocals. I hope they produce more discs soon. (foghornj@earthlink.net)

To tell the truth Bleed Your Cedar was the only unknown band disc I ever bought simply because I promptly fell in love with the woman on the cover :) Luckily, the music didn't disappoint. (afries@zip.com.au)


Queen of the Meadow

Release info:

2000—Jetset—TWA33CD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Jennifer Charles—vocals, minimoog, guitar, wurlitzer, backing vocals
Oren Bloedow—guitar, wurlitzer, bass, glass harmonica, vocals, backing vocals
Jamie Saft—piano, hammond, farfisa, wurlitzer, guitar, accordion
James Genus—bass
Ben Perowsky—drums, banjo

Guest artists:

Joan Wasser—violin
Good—guitar, glass harmonica
Evil—bass, wurlitzer, percussion
Lili Mash—bagpipe
Michael Tighe—bass
Jane Scarpantoni—cello
Julianne Klopotik—violin

Produced by:

Good & Evil and Elysian Fields

Comments:

I like it a lot. It's more like Bleed Your Cedar than their first ep, and has some lovely sultry and acoustic moments. One of my favourite songs is actually the title song where Oren Bloedow sings the lead—his voice can be just as sultry and evocative as Jennifer Charles'. (Neile)

This seemed quite nice, but wasn't anything that blew me away. Then again, it is Elysian Fields, and they seem more tasty than overwhelming. (neal)

It's ace...every bit as good as the first...Jennifer Charles continues to enchant..."Rope of Weeds" is a morbid Nick Cavey tale and the title track is cool despite the lack of Jennifer. One for the year's best list. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

I'm sorry, but to me this work is somewhat of a step down from Bleed Your Cedar, although a pretty good album nonetheless; a bit too much Jennifer's whispering, and a bit too little jazz; don't get me wrong, I cream my jeans for Jennifer Charles just as much as the next guy, but to me Bleed Your Cedar was a more heroic work, whereas Queen of the Meadow feels more like your typical day at the office.(bill@wagill.com)


dreams that breathe your name

Release info:

2004—Diluvian Records

Availability:

Wide in U.S., or see website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for Elysian Fields fans

Group members:

Jenifer Charles—vocals, farfisa
Oren Bloedow—vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, vibes, sitar, bulbul terang, çumbus, accordion, rebab

Guest artists:

Glenn Patscha—piano, keyboards
James Genus—upright bass, electric bass
Ben Perowsky—drums, vibes
George Javori—drums on 5 tracks
Ed Pastorini—piano on 1 track, backing vocals on 1 track
Byron Isaacs—bass on 1 track
Markus Miller—truntables on 4 tracks
Doug Wieselman—baritone sax
Gar Yellin—cello
Charles Burnham—violin on 1 track
Joan Wasser—violin on 1 track
Deep Singh—tablas
Cyro Baptista—percussion
Sachs Fifth Avenue—shaker on 1 track
Chris Kelly—tembourine

Comments:

Another collection of songs made moody by Jennifer Charles' deep, sultry vocal tones. Unignorable. It seeps into your consciousness and you're caught up in it before you know it. Wonderful songs (I particularly like "Drunk on Dark Sublime"). I also like the strange (bonus?) piece at the end, "Dog of Tears". (Neile)

Jim Morrison reborn as a girl with a penchant for torn fishnets and black hair dye. Jennifer Charles' voice is sexy—husky come-hither sexy. She's slutty and sublime. Her lyrics are mystical and imagistic. The music is part T-Rex, part goth, part psychedelic, part L.A. noir lounge. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)


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Entry last updated 2015-05-26 22:25:53.
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