There is no doubt that Michele Ari's debut six song EP, 2005's 85th and Nowhere, sounds like it were made for vinyl. Ari is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter, but not one you'll likely find playing coffeehouses solo with an acoustic guitar. Her preferred style is rocking out with a full band, and her tuneful songs feature clear new wave and power pop leanings.
The six songs on 85th and Nowhere are fresh and captivating, while calling upon some of the most sonically pleasing elements of rock and roll's past. Not only does Ari reference late 70s new wave and power pop, she also looks to R.E.M.-styled early alternative rock and the sweet, impeccable melodies of 60s pop. Think Debbie Harry meets Ronnie Spector with a dash of Michael Stipe.
The EP begins with the smoky My Sleeping Beauty, which has a bit of a Killing Moon vibe, and the jangling, pretty pop gem Please. The title track and Nevermind are a bit more straightforward and aggressive in a Nick Lowe sort of way, setting off the dreamier numbers nicely. Pretty is a bluesy slow burner that crescendos into something truly special and serves as an effective centerpiece to the collection, while the sweet, vulnerable 1000 Kisses closes the EP on an upbeat note.
Ari's vocals are relaxed and unpretentious, exuding 10 times more emotion and inspiration than any of mainstream radio's current pop crazes.
She is currently working on a full-length album, due for release later this year.
Check out some tracks from 85th and Nowhere on MySpace, and pick up a real copy on CD Baby or a digital copy on iTunes.
FOR FANS OF:
Blondie, Nick Lowe, R.E.M., Patti Smith, Ronnie Spector