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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Michelle Payne
Michelle Payne (CD-R Demo)

I got a recent demo from Michelle Payne that had 3 songs from the album pictured in this thumbnail. This is really excellent angsty semi-folk. I've seen Shannon Wright do her modern day Janice Joplin explosion on stage so I know what to expect with music like this and what makes it tick. No surprise that Payne has toured with Wright as well as fellow strident vocalist Caithlin de Marrais from Rainer Maria. She fits right in with those singers in conveying a musical urgency through her voice and guitar playing.

"Day Job" is the friendliest of the tracks but is a standout pop number that bounces along like a Juliana Hatfield track until the middle where there's a nice louder break. I really dig the mix of cello and guitar on "3 a.m." This one reminded me of a Brittle Stars song in the beginning but later fills out in lush instrumentation like a Matt Pond P.A. track. The riveting transformation from quieter melodic moments to angrier outbursts is what I like about her music. She does this so well. But the last track on this demo, "8th Grade", shows that she is equally comfortable with more straightforward and quieter singer-songwriters stuff. Payne is certainly an indie musician to keep an ear on for listeners who like a little extra emotional edge along with their Mirah and Lois.

- review by SHORTY (6.21.05)        

Michelle Payne

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