Lissie: Catching a Tiger

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Artist: Lissie

Title: Catching a Tiger
Release date: August 17
Label: Fat Possum

I'm declaring a moratorium on the word "douchebag." It's now the most overused word of the year, and it's time to give it a rest. Thank you for your consideration.

What's better than the word douchebag is the California-via-Illinois singer Lissie, who is labeled as folk-rock but whose sound is not that easily pigeonholed. That must be why the Fat Possum label picked her up and is releasing her debut record. Fat Possum's had a pretty good run lately of releasing hard-to-categorize rock music.

After a couple of listens, Lissie reminds me a cross between the sassiness of country singer Miranda Lambert and the beguiling delivery of Stevie Nicks. And some of the songs are totally dissimilar from the California rock of Nicks' Fleetwood Mac.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about Lissie her songs, and the production on Catching a Tiger is that they possess a certain timelessness. Lissie has a straightforward, gutsy vocal style, free of the affectations that have tainted singer-songwriters over past three or four years. Because of the trend-resistant sound presented here, these songs may seem middle-of-the-road to a lot of people, that Lissie is just another singer-songwriter. True, it's not a particularly striking or showy record, but it's a strong, confident debut from a singer that bears watching.

Little Lovin' - Lissie

Best song: The dusty country blues stomp of "Little Lovin'" or "Stranger," an anomaly that sounds like the girl groups recorded by Joe Meek in the 1960s.
Rotation: Medium
Deja vu: 1970s California rock
I'd rather listen to: Neko Case
Grade: B

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment


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