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Eleni Mandell

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Moody country-flavoured indie pop


Most recent releases, see Eleni Mandell's site for info on four singles (2018); most recent full-length release, Dark Lights Up (2015)

See also:

Eleni Mandell's site

Eleni Mandell's Facebook page

Wikipedia's entry on Eleni Mandell

The Ectophile's Guide page for her group project, The Living Sisters


Tom Waits, musically

Covers/own material:


General comments:

I've been mildly interested in her music but not fascinated. Her music is moody and bluesy in a kind of Tom Waits mode, so it's not the songwriting that's going to grab you, it's the mood. (Neile)

Kind of warped jazz/folk stuff, with upright bass. (

Comments about live performance:

Then came the main event: Eleni Mandell took the stage. Actually, that makes it sound dramatic, and it wasn't. She skulked onstage. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt, here and may well have been an imposter. It's the only explanation for the chasm that was to open up between expectations and performance. Following the direction of her new album (Snakebite, it was mostly a country set, which resulted in song after song of steel-peddle sludge, all at mid-tempo to dead crawl. Eleni Mandell sulked around the microphone stand, face blank, eyes weary. Her voice wandered in and out of tune, and she radiated all the raw energy of a wet dishcloth. Halfway through the set, she announced she had laryngitis. I'm no doctor, but I had no idea laryngitis could drain someone of absolutely all trace of personality or presence. The show ground on its weary way, like Patsy Kline on valium, and at no time did she display anything approximating life, intelligence, verve or commitment. She looked, for all the world, as if she were there only under duress, staring out at us or up at the ceiling with, at best—indifference.
     I can honestly say I have never been so bored or so disappointed in my life.
     After she'd finally wandered morosely offstage, I left but stopped to buy a cd, Snakebite,the one that had piqued my interest originally, just to make sure I wasn't completely crazy. I might even listen to it.
     Thanks, Eleni—hope we didn't keep you up too late.
     Yeah, I'm harsh, but I stand by it. I've seen lots of people perform in various stages of health (hell, I've done it myself) but I've never seen anyone look quite as bored and fed up as Eleni. If she wasn't up to it, she shouldn't have done it. It's not like you need a lot of energy to fill a place that size, and she obviously couldn't even summon up that. She BARELY "obliged" the guy who asked for an encore, drifting back and muttering that she had no idea how they were going to do it (although yes, she did actually thank him for knowing one of her songs). These are things you have to expect and rise to, ill health or not. Eleni did not. I didn't think she warmed up much at all, and swaying slightly at the microphone does not constitute a performance. Yeah, I'm harsh, and yes I expect a lot for my measly six quid. I don't expect to be treated like an inconvenience!
     I've listened to Snakebite today—not bad, but I still can't get that blank, bored face out of my head. I think I may have to put it away for a while. (5/03,

Recommended first album:



  • Wishbone (1999)
  • Thrill (2000)
  • Snakebite (2002)
  • Country for True Lovers (2003)
  • Afternoon (2004)
  • Miracle of Five (2007)
  • Artificial Fire (2009)
  • I Can See the Future (2012)
  • Let's Fly a Kite (2014)
  • Dark Lights Up (2015)
  • Good To You (single, 2018)
  • Man on Fire (single, 2018)
  • Don't Forget How Good It Is (single, 2018)
  • I Belong To Someone New (single, 2018)


Release info:

1999—Mr. Charles Records—MR-001


Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:


Group members:

Eleni Mandell—vocals, guitar, electric guitar

Guest artists:

Jon Brion—chamerlain, baritone guitar, mellotron, optigon, backing vocals, bass, guitar, Hammond organ, tack piano, drums, olavioline, vibes, banolin, slide guitar, celeste, talk box, moog bass, birtron
Dave Pearlman—pedal steel guitar, pianet, bass
Dave Kean—emu beat box
Ethan Johns—drums
Brian Kehew—electric guitar, sonica, pianet
Dave Jackson—accordion, upright bass
Jason Hiller—bass
John Herron—pianet
Chuck E. Weiss—drums, washboard
David Meschel—upright bass
Autumn de Wilde—tin voice

Produced by:

Brian Kehew and Jon Brion


This album is all over the place, with a strong indie/bluesy feel, hence the Tom Waits comments she's been getting. Her voice is not deep and scratchy so I can't imagine any vocal comparisons, and her songwriting doesn't seem that similar to me. I can hear a little Liz Phair in a couple of songs. Overall, this didn't get much player-time and finally found a more loving home. (Neile)

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Entry last updated 2018-09-28 23:10:22.
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