I am incredibly proud and pleased to announce the release of Lisa Germano's new album on Young God Records. I have been a fan of Lisa's music for years. Her songs are impossibly poignant and often heartbreakingly beautiful. She's a great lyricist and singer but also an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist.
She plays violin, piano/keyboards and guitar with equal authority, as well as producing her own records with great imaginative effect - the result is seductive and truly magical. No one sounds like her. You get the feeling you're walking through her dreams as you listen. The intensity of feeling in her singing is a little frightening sometimes - it's like she's singing very close to your ear, leading you through her ultra emotional world. It's a place I very much enjoy visiting, and I hope you will too.
Lisa began releasing her music in the 90's, first on Capitol Records, and then several more albums through 4AD. Perhaps most notable among them were the fantastic Geek, The Girl, and Excerpts From A Love Circus. These records created a very special "antique", lost carnival atmosphere - extremely personal, simultaneously self-effacing and confrontational missives of emotional damage and impossible love. She received a fair amount of acclaim at the time in publications ranging from independent-oriented fanzines and magazines and on to Spin, Rolling Stone, etc. In 2003 Lisa released the absolutely beautiful and wrenching audio journey Lullaby For Liquid Pig, featuring woozy paeans to alcohol, fantasy landscapes and out-of-focus dreams. Her side projects/collaborations include the album OP8 (with Giant Sand and Calexico) in which she is the featured singer, and diverse hired side-person stints with David Bowie, Neil Finn, John Mellencamp, Simple Minds, Iggy Pop, Sheryl Crow and others. As an artist/performer, in my opinion, she's right up there with the cadre of strong, emotionally raw challenging and original women singers such as PJ Harvey, Maryanne Faithful, Cat Power and Bjork, and it’s about time Lisa had her due. in the maybe world features some of Lisa’s best songs to date. Typically, her (self) production and arrangements are inventive and completely unique, the words cut right to the core and her voice carries you gently off into a world where the distinctions between beauty, loss, love and pain tend to blur. The songs are immediately gratifying and sensual, but are also ultimately complicated and reward repeated listening. I hope you enjoy the music ! - Michael Gira/Young God Records
all songs C 2006 lisa germano/emotional wench publishing (BMI)
and P Young God Records 2006.
By Kenny Berkowitz
Lisa Germano - In The Maybe Word (highlighted review)
If you're headed towards a desert island and can only take one bitter, depressed, broken hearted multi-instrumentalist, take Lisa Germano. She's a first rate musician who switches between guitar, piano, keyboards, and violin, playing them all with a sharp, brooding intensity. As a writer, there's no one else like her when it comes to crafting barbed, brittle songs of yearning, loneliness and betrayal. Germano is an acquired taste: Even on a good day, she's pretty pissed, and those good days don't come along very often. In the past, she's sunk too deep into self loathing and her albums have been difficult listens. But now, at 48 years old, she's somehow cut a deal with herself. The words still wound, but never fatally, and for all her pain, the melodies have never sounded prettier or her voice more vulnerable. Whether she's wishing she could disappear ("all along I want to go into oblivion") or singing both sides of a lover's quarrel (" Go to hell/Fuck you/I love you/I love you, too") the songs on In The Maybe World have a deadpan, droning resilience, with little more than piano, string bass and an occasional cameo from Johnny Marr playing a handful of notes as softly as possible. It's a painful thing of beauty, and the smartest, sharpest writing of her career.
April 6, 2006
Don't worry, it's dark only for art's sake Lisa Germano tackles death and life's dramas in song, but has a brighter side too.
By Steve Hochman, Special to The Times
After Lisa Germano released her 2003 album, "Lullaby for Liquid Pig," some fans were so concerned about her state of mind that they sent her Bibles and self-help materials. The album, after all, dealt with coming to terms with, but not rejecting, alcohol and addictive habits, both chemical and emotional.
You wonder what they'll send her after this summer's release of her new album, "In the Maybe World."
The subject matter this time: Death.
Recorded over the last two years, the album includes songs that grew out of the death of her cat ("Golden Cities"), her father's successful heart surgery ("Too Much Space") and singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley's drowning a decade ago ("Except for the Ghosts").
Before anyone heads to FedEx with packages, though, the Los Angeles-based musician wants to elaborate.
"It could be a real death or a death inside or the death of a relationship or the death of an idea," she said, settling in at a West Hollywood teahouse with a cheery, engaging manner hardly seeming like someone with death on her mind. "But it is about death and not fearing it."
It was a point she reiterated to a small audience Tuesday at Spaceland, the first night of a weekly residency at the Silver Lake club through the end of this month.
"I don't think it's depressing," she said, drawing uncertain laughs from those who had braved the rain to come out.
In the teahouse interview, thinking back over her six previous albums, she acknowledged a dark thread running through her distinctive, dreamlike work ‹ often fragile, impressionistic, almost hesitant yet frank accounts of psychic puzzles at times compatible with the somber songs of the Eels, one of many acts she's played with as a talented musician on keyboards, violin and guitar. (Others include David Bowie, Neil Finn, Wendy & Lisa and fellow Indiana native John Mellencamp, with whom she first came to prominence as his violinist in the mid-'80s).
But Germano is eager to draw a line between her art and herself.
"Sometimes people think I'd be really upset a lot," she explained, in a tone anything but. "I have moments, but I write through them. It's important to be happy."
It was an artistically dark yet engaging Germano who appeared at Spaceland. She started out thanking opening band Jean-Paul Yamamoto for its electro-disco frivolity, wryly noting that she wished she could be so loose. From there it was straight into a series of "Liquid Pig" songs before a sequence previewing the upcoming album.
The new songs effectively wove together the by-nature contradictory aspects of the subject matter: tenderness and anger, sorrow and humor, endings and beginnings. Accompanied by her own piano and electric guitar with subdued backing on portable pump organ by Patrick Warren and bass by Sebastian Steinberg, her hushed, her confessional voice conveyed both adult confidence and childlike insecurity. In visual terms, the music was charcoal sketches, "Starry Night" swirls and fading, flickering home movies.
The residency provides the perfect way to introduce the new music ‹ intimate, unpredictable, in the moment. She promises each week's show will be different, if for nothing else than for the other acts on the bill. (Next week she'll be followed by Mekons members Jon Langford and Sally Timms.)
Ultimately, there's a sense that she is working out her emotional uncertainties through her art and reaching contentment, something reflected in her attitude toward her own career. Having had a taste of pop success with Mellencamp and getting her own stabs at major-label deals in the early '90s, she's quite happy now to have her music released on the low end of the food chain. The new album is coming through Young God Records, owned by former Swans leader (and long-time Germano fan) Michael Gira and in recent years home to such offbeat upstarts as Devendra Banhart and Angels of Light.
"Liquid Pig" marked something of a transition. It was released through the Internet-anchored ArtistDirect firm just before the label went belly up. That, she says, was upsetting but hardly as devastating as it once might have been.
A job at Book Soup in West Hollywood allowed her to pay the bills while she let her music ventures evolve without even thinking in terms of record contracts and album schedules, a situation that proved creatively comfortable.
"I don't know how to explain it," she said. "I'm just not an artist in the music business anymore. I tried that. Now as a person I make the music I do and it's me."
There is no regret in her voice.
"When you're younger, it's important you have that drive or desire," she said. "I'm 47, so it's kind of permissible to not continue that."
paintings by francesca sundsten