Danielle Howle
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Lay Quiet Awhile: Delicate Wire , 6/10
About To Burst , 6.5/10
Do A Two Sable , 6/10
Catalog , 6/10
Skorborealis , 6/10

Danielle Howle is a singer and songwriter from South Carolina who has coined a powerful (and frequently disorienting) style of singing and who relies on a uncanny talent for conversational lyrics about mundane topics observed with unabashed honesty.

Lay Quiet Awhile was formed in the 1980s in South Carolina and in 1989 added vocalist Danielle Howle to the line-up. She makes the difference on Delicate Wire (Daemon, 1993), a collection of carefully assembled songs that her voice turns into dreamy impressionistic portraits.

After the band broke up in 1994, Howle started playing the clubs with the sole accompaniment of her acoustic guitar. The EP Wrestling (Daemon, 1994), with Frog Song, and the Live At McKissick Museum (Daemon, 1995) photograph her naked persona.

About To Burst (Simple Machines, 1996), recorded with a canonic power-trio, is the revelation of a full-fledged musician, not only a talented story writer and teller. Howle swings between pop (I Held The Satchel), rap (Evidence) and blues (Spider Writer), sometimes emphatic (Threatened) and sometimes delicate (Lonely Is A Word). Her most disturbing stories are the metaphysical parables of The Parlor and Parakeet Protest Song, whose meaning resonates long after the refrain is over. Morally, Howle is the continuation of a line of introspective folksingers that runs through Joni Mitchell and Lisa Germano, while her bitter wit connects with the ghost of Jonathan Richman.

Do A Two Sable (Daemon, 1997), credited to the Tantrums like the single High School Dance (Sub Pop, 1997), is even more electric and even more melodic. Howle is maturing as a composer while settling down as a writer into the domestic mood of so much country music. The erotic You Came A Knockin', the sarcastic Cartoon In The Courtroom, and the common-folks vignettes of Dusty and Big Front Porch are as unassuming as hummable. The electric Howle is not all that different from the acoustic Howle.

Howle returned to the (mostly) acoustic format for Catalog (Kill Rock Stars, 1999) and its intimate fables, notably From The Top Of Trees.

Skorborealis (Daemon, 2002) displays a maturing voice and quasi-bubblegum melodies (Could Be Here, Cut a Rug, Sneaky A.M.) that redefine her persona, while leaving in the background her country/folk roots (Karaoke, Let the Angels Commit). She even takes a stab at lounge pop-soul (Dark Like the Coat) but probably finds the best balance with the K.D. Lang-esque Camaro.

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