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Amanda Palmer


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Alternative cabaret-influenced pop/rock

Status:

Most recent release, I Can Sping a Rainbow (with Edward Ka-Spel, 2017)

See also:

Amanda Palmer's site

Amanda Palmer's Bandcamp site

The Who Killed Amanda Palmer site

Wikipedia's entry on Amanda Palmer

The Ectoguide's page for the Dresden Dolls

Comparisons:

The Dresden Dolls, Tori Amos, Lene Lovich, Jill Tracy

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional cover

General comments:

Solo work by The Dresden Dolls singer

Comments about live performance:

Amanda Palmer at Spiegeltent was as expected—great music (lots of slow songs), interesting clothes (bra, gold corset, ruffled skirt, red stockings, magic marker smeared hands), digressive stories, communicating through large hand-held signs (afterwards there were audiences members wandering around holding 'Hi' or 'and'), karaoke (to Ben Folds song), 'Creep' on ukelele to end, which was around 1.30am (sleepy grrrr DD and AP shows lateness).
     Songs were 'Ampersand', 'Astronaut', 'Point of it all', 'Guitar hero', 'Runs in the family', 'Icarus', 'Blake says', 'Strength through music', 'Coin operated boy', 'Half Jack', 'Mrs O', a Regina Spektor song, an obscure sentimental song by an Irishman ('look, mummy, no hands' on the carousel).
     Oh, and a song with lyrics by Neil Gaiman. They're both Sinatra fans and were discussing how you can't do songs about lonely people sitting in smoky bars at 3am anymore, it's so cliche, and bars aren't smoky, and who does that anyway, so the late-night loneliness ballad instead went 'I google you...'
     During 'Ask Amanda' we learnt that her favorite vege is broccoli, Neil Gaiman was 'fucking amazing', and that we become one with the earth after death.
     Story of her plane ride to NY: sitting in back next to old Arab guy ('he was in his late 100s') who couldn't speak English; lots of confused attempts to converse, feeling of success when she realized he needed a wheelchair, and further success when she helped him call a phone number. He hand signed 'is this home?' when they landed and she thought about it and realized the NY skyline was her favorite and said 'yes' and felt wonderful, like they'd shared a deep moment and she'd come to an important realization, and she gazed into his wise old-man eyes and leaned back in her seat and enjoyed the moment. And then he reached over and grabbed her breast and squeezed. 'Way to spoil the moment, dude.'
     Similarly, a sleazy older guy was there with his little goth-metal son, and dad (we'll assume) keeps on asking 'do you think she's hot? man, amanda palmer is sexy.' I'm not sure if this is a usual father-son bonding issue. He shouts out 'You're hot, Amanda' and takes out a comb to tidy up his comb-over. (8/08)
     Great to hear 'Leeds United' and 'Have to drive' live at last, and solo 'Bad habit' and 'Backstabber' were fun. The rest of the set-list was as usual: 'Astronaut', 'Runs in the family', 'Ampersand', 'Blake says', 'Strength through music', that sentimental bit of guff 'Look mummy no hands', 'Coin-operated boy', 'Mrs O', 'I Google You', 'Half-Jack', closing with ukulele 'Creep'. Amanda's voice was lovely and strong, not as raw and out of tune as recently, but there was lots of reverb helping her :) The violin was lovely.
     The feature of this tour is The Danger Ensemble—arty Australians who change costumes to amuse and irritate. Some of the more serious bits were just silly (lots of slow motion; gazing raptly at a Mac during 'Blake says') but the silly bits were fun (insane lustful dancing during 'Coin-operated boy' and Rihanna's 'Umbrella'). They dressed up as miserable suits for 'Have to drive', stood frozen in a spotlight and wept in audience members arms). They dressed up as high school kids for a karaoke 'Guitar hero', which was a disappointment as it's a great song live. Amanda mimed on an unplugged guitar and banged her head with it as she took it off. She was pleased to be dripping blood from mock playing a guitar—very rock and roll. (11/08, k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

I drove up to Denver for her show on Saturday. I'm sure no two shows are exactly the same. We got a guitar auction (which went for $620), two lip-synched songs ("Guitar Hero" and Rihanna's "Umbrella"—which were a blast), odd and complimentary performance art courtesy of the Danger Ensemble, a very moving recitation of Columbine victims, and stunning, powerful performances all night long. The whole thing was a thrill and definitely worth the trip. (12/08, Neal)

Recommended first album:

Who Killed Amanda Palmer

Recordings:


Who Killed Amanda Palmer

Release info:

2008—Roadrunner Records—1686-179252

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Amanda Palmer—vox, piano, tack piano, wurlitzer omni 3000, wurlitzer electric piano, handclaps, celeste, vibraphone

Guest artists:

Zoë Keating—cello (1, 5)
Ben Folds—percussion, drums, synths, jupiter-4, blackberry, wurlitzer omni 3000, piano, moog, back-up vocals
David Davidson—violin (1, 2, 5)
John Catchings—cello (2)
Paul Buckmaster—string arrangements, conducting (3, 8, 11, 12)
Andy Moore—trumpet (4)
Tim Lane—trombone (4)
Josh Coppersmith—Heaven-sax (4)
Allan Ferguson—bass guitar (4)
Jamie Graham—drums (4)
Laura Dean—handclaps (7)
East Bay Ray (Dead Kennedys)—guitar (7)
Sam Bass—cello (7)
Leigh Nash, Carmella Ramsey, Kate York, Carey Kotsionis, Sam Smith, George Daeger, Donald Schroader, Jack Palmer—choir (8)
Annie Clark (St. Vincent)—vox, virtual chimes (9)
Jared Reynolds—choir (8); bass, back-up vocals (10)
Natalie Leggett, Ruth Bruegger, Darius Campo, Roberto Cano, Mario De Leon, Sarah Parkins, Joel Derouin, Michele Richards, Josefina Vergara—violins (3, 8, 11, 12)
Shanty Randall, Matt Funes, Evan Wilson—violas (3, 8, 11, 12)
Larry Corbett, Steve Richards, Daniel Smith—cellos (3, 8, 11, 12)

Produced by:

Ben Folds (1, 2, 5–8, 10), Amanda Palmer (3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12), Alan Bezozi (9)

Comments:

Anyone else obsessing over Amanda Palmer's (Dresden Dolls) new album?
     Last week my fondness rankings went something like: Family > Friends > Favorite animals > Great music > Good conversation > Cup of tea and a good book > Interesting old trees > An unopened present > Fresh home-made bread (without having to clean up the dough stuck on the counter)
     Now it's: Amanda > Life, etc, whatever
     I sing along to catchy pop ('Leeds United', 'Oasis'), mainline dark emotion ('Blake says', 'Point of it all'), embrace the theatrics because she's so heartfelt ('Runs in the family', 'Hard to drive'). Love love 'Guitar hero'; the gun-guitar lyrics are creepy. 'Strength through music' is too minimal live for me, but it works here with the 'tic toc'. 'What's the use of wond'rin' is the only one I don't love—Annie Clark (St. Vincent) singing Doris Day, it jars. I usually enjoy song snippets, samples, doodles breaking up an album, but this song is too different in style and having a different singer is distracting.
     So many wonderful lyrics—'that never talking thing you do is effective', 'but no one can stare at the wall as good as you, my babydoll', 'the ghetto boys are cat-calling me as i pull my keys from my pocket / i wonder if this method of courtship has ever been effective / has any girl in history said 'sure, you seem so nice, let's get it on'
     It is odd hearing fancily-arranged album versions of these songs after their lengthy solo lives, but I've no complaints.
     Yey Herself, theatrical yet heartfelt and honest, ugly-beautiful and frighteningly fierce. Yey the alternate tracks '1.1.94', 'You may kiss the bride', 'I will follow you into the dark'. Boo her Stupid Stupid record company, calling her fat, refusing support, not even willing to give her the money for a box to put her keyboard and seat on so the audience could see her better. This record could be huge among goths and geeks and piano romantics and teenage dreamers. (k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

Funny, listening to it now. Then again, I listen to it most days, it seems.
     I don't love everything on it, and sometimes I wish Brian were on there instead of Ben Folds, but overall it's a real treat. And, yeah, I could probably do without Annie Clark (St. Vincent).
     "Oasis" and "Runs in the Family" are probably my favorites right now. (jeffrey@burkas.net)

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEE it. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

When I heard Amanda Palmer was going to release a solo album, I was really excited to see what would come from more artistic freedom—departing from The Dresden Dolls. The results are incredible. What a force she is! This album is a breakthrough for her. What a bizarre (in a good way!) mix of songs. From the intense "Runs in the Family" to the heartbreaking ballad "Ampersand" to the showtune "What's the Use of Wondrin?"—each song is a new journey. I've always known Amanda could be intense, but I like her best on the quieter songs where we hear her voice, once fierce, become as cracked, fragile and raw as her emotions. (lasherboy@gmail.com)


Who Killed Amanda Palmer [Alternate Tracks]

Release info:

2008

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Amanda Palmer

Guest artists:

Ben Folds—drums (3, 4, 7, 9)
Jared Reynolds—bass (3, 9)
Zoë Keating—cello (14)

Comments:

I like this album (mostly of demos) just as much as the original Who Killed Amanda Palmer release. In particular, she does a gorgeous cover of Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." (JoAnn Whetsell)

Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele

Release info:

2010—8ft. Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Group members:

Amanda Palmer—ukulele, vocals, piano, prepared piano

Guest artists:

Zoë Keating—cello (6)
Lyndon Chester—violin (6)
Jenny Khafagi—violin (6)
Lucy Warren—violin (6)

Comments:

Rather a mixed bag. I really like "High and Dry" and "Idioteque" but could do without some of the others, including both versions of "Creep" (too bad, it's a great song). (JoAnn Whetsell)

So-so. A bit too gimmicky to work. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under

Release info:

2011—Liberator Music—LIB 112

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Group members:

Amanda Palmer—vocals, piano, ukulele

Guest artists:

Guthrie Govan (The Young Punx)—ukulele (4)
Hal Ritson, Michele Balduzzi (The Young Punx)—keyboards & programming (4)
Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls)—percussion (5)
Tom Dickins (The Jane Austen Argument)—vocals (6)
Jennifer Kingwell (The Jane Austen Argument)—piano (6)
Mikelangelo—vocals (11)
Lance Horne—five instruments (11)

Produced by:

Amanda Palmer (4, 8, 12); Hal Ritson and Michele Balduzzi (4)

Comments:

This is a strange little album, a tribute of sorts to Australia and commemoration of time spent there (the 12 tracks were recorded in Australia, 9 of them live, while 1 was recorded live in New Zealand). I like most of the individual tracks and getting a glimpse of Amanda's live shows, but the album doesn't hang together. Still it's worth checking out because there's some great material—fun/funny songs like "Vegemite (the black death)" and "Map of Tasmania" and more serious/beautiful songs like "Australia," "Bad Wine and Lemon Cake," and "On an Unknown Beach." (JoAnn Whetsell)

I love Amanda, and I wish she'd get her act together. This disc is a mess. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)


Theatre Is Evil

Release info:

2012—8 Ft Records—8 52831 00400 5

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Amanda Palmer—vocals, piano, synthesizers
Jherek Bischoff—vocals, upright bass, guitar; acoustic bass (7); orchestra arrangement (7, 8)
Michael McQuilken—vocals, drums, percussion, programming
Chad Raines—vocals, guitar, trumpet, keyboards, programming; horn arrangements (12, 14, 15)

Guest artists:

Meow Meow—introduction (1)
Paris Hurley—violin 1 & 2 (7, 8)
Alex Guy—viola (7, 8)
Maria Scherer Wilson—cello (7, 8)
Paul Kikuchi—concert bass drum (7)
Mick Fraser, Benjamin Gillespie, Eamon McNelis, Phil Noy, Paul Willy—horns (8, 12, 14, 15)
David J—bass (13)

Produced by:

John Congleton

Comments:

I love backing Kickstarter projects and when I heard of AFP's new album plans, I immediately signed up. The result is astonishing in complexity, intricacy as well as expansiveness. I only signed up for the lowest tier that got me vinyl and it got me a HUGE package that included heavyweight-paper artwork prints. The music itself is something I have to be in the mood for as it's a bit on the heavy side for my (main) tastes but, knowing Amanda Palmer, I was expecting nothing less. Also please check out the awesome videos for "The Killing Type," "Do It With A Rockstar" and "Want It Back" (all NSFW). (raschee@gmail.com)

Wonderfully Amanda. There are a lot of great songs here; my favorites tend to be the faster ones like "The Killing Type" and "Do It With a Rockstar." The album is pretty long (71 minutes), and I find the second half drags just a bit, but there are a lot of gems throughout. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Further info:

Tracks only available on compilations include:

  • "Creep" on Every Machine Makes a Mistake: A Tribute to Radiohead (2009)
  • "Behavior" on the Steel Train tribute album Terrible Thrills Volume One (2010)
  • "Polly" on SPIN's Nirvana tribute album Newermind (2011)
Collaborations include:

  • a self-titled album as part of the duo Evelyn Evelyn with Jason Webley (2010)
  • the song "János vs Wonderland" with Tristan Allen on his self-titled album (2010)
  • Planned Parenthood benefit download AFP Presents The Dirty View with Kim Airs and Kirsten Vangsness (2011)
  • the album Nighty Night as part of the group 8in8 with Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman, and Damian Kulash (OK Go) (2011)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2017-12-16 14:28:00.
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