Anna Calvi

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Kiss me deadly

What is the concern of art if not love and loss, having and not having? Anna Calvi, a pale beauty and restless soul sings songs haunted by the ghosts of long dead rockabilly singers and broken hearted chanteuses. Stirring a cauldron of influences from Messien and Debussy, Maria Callas as well as the lush cinema of Wong Kar Wei and the music played to her at her Italian father’s knee.

The ten songs which make up self-titled debut album songs were demo’ed on an eight-track recorder in Mama and Papa Calvi’s attic. Recording took place in basement studio with Anna’s vocals and guitar complemented by Mally Harpaz on guitar, harmonium and percussion, and Daniel Maiden-Wood on drums. All told, it took three years of recording before they finally emerged; blinking into the sunshine with a clutch of songs which, in the singer’s words, explore “intimacy, passion and loneliness.” The result is a wild romantic fantasy, shot through with carnal devilry. Says Calvi: ‘Music’s so sexual. And there is that thing of… when you love someone so much you think that you could kill them. ’

In a charming nod to times past, the album is preceded by a standalone track not featured on the long player. Jezebel, a song made famous by Edith Piaf, is a tale of a fallen woman, “a devil born… without horns.” In Calvi’s hands, it becomes a whirling flamenco.

Anna Calvi is swiftly garnering favourable reviews. She’s recently toured with Grinderman and an early champion was none other than Brian Eno, who in a 6 Music Interview, remarkably called Calvi “the biggest thing since Patti Smith”. The debut album is produced by Rob Ellis, long-term collaborator of PJ Harvey and it’s tempting to make comparisons between Polly Jean’s gothic universe and the dark fables told by this compelling young singer. Let her tell you a story.

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  • Music Snobbery Interview

    Read the full article 02/09/10

    There's a lot of raw emotion in her music. You have at the high end of the spectrum, a pure rock furocity that is operatic and intenseI dont think we could have expected a better response. It was very welcoming and we had a blast..."

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    "With her name gently building up momentum in the music press of late I would go as far to say that 2011 will be the year that makes her..."

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    • 1. At 6:22pm on 19 Dec 2010, Dwayne wrote:

      This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    • 2. At 11:49am on 04 Jan 2011, RobJonesgoodknee wrote:

      Bit of a put-down on PJ Harvey to compare Anna Calvi to her. I love PJ Harvey; Anna Calvi just doesn't do it for me..

      I saw Anna support Interpol last month and thought it was terrible, self-indulgent tripe. Lame attempted guitar solos and boring song-writing, covered up by a moody persona.

      Loads of people went to get drinks while she was on and the only thing that made her look better was when Surfer Blood came on stage and they were even worse!

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    • 3. At 12:52pm on 06 Jan 2011, TheSoothsayerOfMusicalTruth wrote:

      I've been through the 'Hot Tips' now and Anna Calvi is easily the most interesting of them. Not saying much though, is it? And it's a cover as well! The artists chosen seem to lack any imagination or 'danger'. Who were these 'industry insiders' that chose this mediocre selection? As a regular London gig goer I know that there is much better stuff than this out there. It just goes to show that the Music Industry is still only prepared to back beige music of the lowest common denominator. Boo & hiss...

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    • 4. At 05:02am on 23 Jan 2011, jellyfarm wrote:

      Hi from Malaysia! :) I just got my hands on this album and while I marvel at the emotional depth of her voice (it gives me goosebumps really) and her multi-talented-ness, I do think this album is a refreshing one amongst all the pop tripe out there.

      After a few listens, it hearkens to a dark film made by David Lynch. It's 'Twin Peakish' qualities is probably what's getting the monotone music industry execs excited.

      Only 2 drawbacks though - she needs to stop aping Jeff Buckley and his dad, Tim Buckley. Songs like 'The Devil' are very reminiscent of Jeff's heartbreaking rendition of 'Hallelujah'.

      Other tracks sound like she just came off playing a 2 hour set with PJ Harvey, right after doing after-show drinks with her. There are no creepy 'Rid of me' moments.

      Once she gets out of this groove and explores other new territory, Anna Calvi can truly grow as an artiste, otherwise she's just going to be a one-hit album wonder who can't muster up enough excitement for us new fans to listen to her sophomore.

      So I'll give this album a 7 1/2 out of 10 for daring to give us a wonderful journey down memory lane for us Jeff Buckley fans and to push the emotional drama envelope for the PJ Harvey fans.

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    • 5. At 1:45pm on 11 Sep 2011, Donkeyshed wrote:

      @RobJonesgoodknee

      Couldn't agree more. The 'bigging-up' of Anna Calvi this year just about sums up the mediocrity that has engulfed the British music scene over the last decade. I (and about twenty others) saw her play the Standon Calling festival last summer and she was absolutely dire; boring, laboured dirge.

      Unfortunately, it would seem that the 'industry' has decided (for us) that she is amazing. Therefore she will receive unmerited and disproportionate attention which will no doubt pique the interest of the 'happy clapper' brigade who will buy into anything that they are told is 'on-trend'.

      How depressing...

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    • 6. At 1:49pm on 15 Oct 2011, Elvenring wrote:

      I can't believe the bad reviews! I'm not a music critic or in the music business, and i am just overwhelmed by anna calvi's music- haven't heard anything as soulful, exciting and spine tingling for years.

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      Upcoming live dates Powered by SongKick Add or edit events for Anna Calvi

      12 July 2012
      Somerset House, London, UK
      See event
      31 August 2012
      End of the Road Festival, Southampton, UK
      See event

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