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mirah


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Stripped-down indie pop

Status:

Most recent release, Changing Light (2014)

See also:

Mirah's site

Wikipedia's entry on Mirah

Site for Mirah's work with Thao Nguyen (album Thao & Mirah, 2011)

Comparisons:

Cat Power, Blake Hazard, Mary Lou Lord, Tanya Donelly, Kristin Hersh

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Very good stuff, definitely of ecto interest. In the Tanya Donnelly/Kristin Hersh vein. (eacole@ups.edu)

Mirah has a stripped-down indie pop sound. Her vocals are high and childlike and often whispered, her lyrics sometimes boppy charming, sometimes simple and dark, sometimes obscure. Her simplicity is a two-edged sword: often the songs become ripe with possibilities, but other times their deliberate naïveté keeps them from breaking out into the wider world. (Neile)

he's a fabulously quirky lo-fi alterna-pop singer songwriter on K Records. We've been talking about her on ecto at least since her second album came out about 7 years ago. Her third release, _C'mon Miracle_ is my favorite of hers, in that it's the most consistent. The early albums had some truly great stuff, mixed in with some, well, less great. And the most recent release, _(A)spera_ has some really nice stuff too. (burka@jeffrey.net) Thanks to whoever it was recently who recommended Mirah (aka Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn). Sort of low-fi acoustic folk/punk, occasionally verging into jazz territory (e.g. "Words Cannot Describe" from the debut You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This), with child-freaked vocals that call to mind, say, Alison Shaw of Cranes. I was so taken with the four tracks I'd downloaded from krecs.com/mirah that I sprang for both of her albums plus the single for "Cold Cold Water." (burka@jeffrey.net)

Recommended first album:

Advisory Committee

Recordings:

  • Storageland
  • You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This (2000)
  • Cold Cold Water (single, 2001)
  • Advisory Committee (2002)
  • Songs from the Black Mountain Project (2003)
  • To All We Stretch The Open Arm (with the Black Cat Orchestra, 2004)
  • C'mon Miracle (2004)
  • Joyride: Remixes (2006)
  • Share This Place (with Spectratone International, 2007)
  • The Old Days Feeling (2008)
  • (a)spera (2009)
  • Low Self Control (2011)
  • Changing Light (2014)

You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This

Release info:

2000—K Records—klp112

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of indie pop

Group members:

Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn—all songs and most instrument playing

Guest artists:

Jason and Mark—extra guitars on "Sweeptakes Prize"
Jenn Kliese—archipelago violin on "Sweeptakes Prize"
Ariana, Amber, Khaela, Elsbeth, David, Forrest, Arrington, Sara, Nomy, Jenn, Phil—chorus on "Person Person"
Paul West on "Words Cannot Describe"
Lee Phelps—bass on "Words Cannot Describe"
Arrington de Dionyso—flute on "Words Cannot Describe"

Produced by:

"Recorded by Mirah and Phil"

Comments:

Deliberately naïve but not cloying and frequently charming. The songs are brief so they don't wear out their welcome. The collection ends with jazz tune, which shows that Mirah can sing in a totally different style, keeping the charm but sounding a lot more mature. My favourite song on this one is "Pollen"—it's delightful. (Neile)

Cold Cold Water (single)

Release info:

2001—K Records—Ipu100

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Mirah

Comments:

This is a delightful single. The title track (both versions, there are two here) is brilliant and has stuck in my head for 10 years. I just love it. It's dramatic ("how tough it is to be in love") and almost over the top and just so much fun. The rest of the single has two other tracks that are more like Mirah's usual sound—a lot looser and quieter. There's also a weird section of excerpts that cracks me up. (Neile)

Advisory Committee

Release info:

2002—K Records—klp 135 cd

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of indie pop

Group members:

Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn—vocals, guitars, percussion, organ, drums, machine, pump organ, bass pedals, steel drums, bells, xylophones, piano

Guest artists:

Phil—guitars, ideas, organ, bass, drums, piano, "Karl Blau", other machines, percussion, melodica
Bryce Panic—vocals, percussion, bass pedals, drums
Nore Danielson, Mona Tougas, Hillary Deutsch—strings on "cold cold water"
B Burg—percussion loop on "Body Below"
Khaela and Jason—extra guitars on "Advisory Committee"
Chris Adolph—xylophone, bass pedals, medloica, moog, saw on "Special Death"
Kory Ross—drums on "Special Death"
Aaron Hartman string bass on "Light the Match"
Nora Danielson—violin on "Light the Match
Amber, Anna, Ariana, Arrington, Jenn, Khaela, Phil—chorus on "Apples in the Trees"

Produced by:

"Recorded and mixed by Phil Elvrum and Mirah"

Comments:

"Cold Cold Water" is such a knock-out song—it's an epic western love song, dramatically over-the-top and wonderfully put together. The problem is that it's a moment of such stark brightness in contrast to the rest of the album. (Neile)

As Neile has already said, "Cold Cold Water" is outstanding. The album cut is a bombastic, overproduced masterpiece that verges on progrock but without the synthesizers and electric guitars. Instead, it fuses acoustic guitar with strings and massive percussion (tympani! when was the last time you heard tympani with an acoustic guitar?). If the album were a little more consistent, it probably would have made my list of the top albums of the year. "Cold, Cold Water" is one of my very favorite tracks of the year, but overall I'm not sure I like this album quite as much as its precursor, You Think It's Like This, But Really It's Like This. Still, Mirah got a fair amount of plays with me this year. (burka@jeffrey.net)

As Jeff said, it lacks consistency, but when it's good, it's really, really good. (mcurry@io.com)


Further info:

Mirah also did an album with Ginger Brooks Takahashi called Songs From the Black Mountain Music Project.

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Entry last updated 2015-05-24 17:39:47.
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