Astrid Swan is a one-woman pop project from Finalnd, and not in the Mariah Carey way. Poverina puts piano-driven pop, a love of British and American music (her recent activity includes covering the Killers’ “When You Were Young”), and a clearly stated goal to steer clear from the current stereotype that Finland is a heavy metal haven to the forefront, while her sultry swoon shares a close tie with female songstresses like Kate Bush, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey. Yet her songwriting bears closer resemblance to Elliott Smith, an influence on her, drifting poetically through a string of innocuous metaphors—the effervescent “Life in a Container” has her comparing herself to a “low-fat” packed lunch, and has, without doubt, the coolest mandobanjo riff ever. The cover art says it all: this is an organic collection of very much pop tunes that express themselves through pianos, flutes, strings, and other weird, some might say over-the-top combinations (“Rock n Roll Blonde” features no less than a double bass, viola, cello, trombone, euphonium, French horn and flugelhorn). If there is a fault with it, it’s that Swan approaches her singing with a certain lack of emotion, which can render a desperately sad track like “War” a little too joyous and indifferent. Still, as getting-away-from-the-norm, escapist fare, this certainly works.
// Notes from the Road
"Philip Glass, the artistic director of the Tibet House benefits, celebrated his 80th birthday at this year's annual benefit with performances from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Brittany Howard, Sufjan Stevens and more.READ the article