I’ve been meaning to post about Jill Tracy for a long time. I discovered her on Myspace, back when that was a thing. I would describe her style as gothic cabaret, lots of songs about murder and poison and dark secrets. My girlfriend thinks she sounds a lot like Tori Amos. I think of her as a female version of Daniel Knox. Both have music filled with dark beauty and at times, a wicked sense of humor.
Jill Tracy did something this year that surprised me – created a Christmas album full of music that I actually enjoy. A lot. Silver Smoke, Star of Night is a collection of carols, some dating back to the Middle Ages, and her own song, “Room 19,” about a ghost haunting an old hotel room.
The music is lovely, something I would listen to any time of the year. It’s Christmas music, but it is also night music.
To my surprise, Silver Smoke, Star of Night made Christianity Today‘s list of Best New Christmas Music of 2012. I never would have expected Jill Tracy to be on that magazine’s radar, but I can’t argue with their take on the album:
A hypnotic, slowly building version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” sets the tone for this absolutely stunning collection by this Bay Area-based songwriter. This is the CD you put on at night, post-gift wrapping as you drink up hot chocolate and the warm glow of the Christmas lights.
Give it a listen and see if you don’t agree.
Check out some of her other albums and consider purchasing some of it. She’s quite prolific. I bought Diabolical Streak years ago and I never get tired of it.
This amazing mural on the Women's Building in San Francisco could use a bit of TLC. Micropixie is donating part of the sales from "Sounds So Different" to the project.
A few years ago my brother and I went to San Francisco and spent several days exploring the city. One of my favorite sites was the Women’s Building in the Mission District, with its amazing mural. Pictures can’t quite do it justice. You have to see it in person.
A fundraiser is under way to get that amazing mural some TLC and Micropixie (recently interviewed on this blog) is helping out. She is giving 25% of sales from “Sounds So Different” – her cover of Sinead O’Connor’s “Feels So Different” – to the Women’s Building fundraiser,
MPX is supporting another non-profit as well. She is donating 25% of the sales from the radio edit of “Testosteronica” to the Women’s Audio Mission, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and the recording arts through training, career counseling and job placement.
I am in the process of editing an interview with San Francisco-based Micropixie, a singer I’ve been crazy about for several years now.
I haven’t mentioned her yet, but I’ve been planning to do that interview ever since I started this blog. Promoting musicians like her is one of the main reasons I do this. “San Francisco-based” is about as close as you can come to pinning her down, by the way. The path that led her to San Francisco and into a music career is so complex, you would have to call her a true citizen of the world. It gives her a unique perspective on the world. Hence her extra-terrestrial alter-ego, Micropixie.
She just released her sophomore album, The Good, The Beige & the Ugly. It was over four years in the making and it is excellent. A couple of the songs – “Superhero” and “No Nonsense,” impressed the hell out of me when I first heard the demo versions on a formerly social music streaming site I used to frequent. Since that time, she has been working with a top notch British producer to craft an album that chronicles the experiences of her alien persona, Micropixie, MPX for short.
“Superhero” is by far the biggest “hit” on the album (it would be all over the radio if there was any justice in the world, but I’m not too sure there is), but I am also quite fond of “Ones and Zeroes,” “Bullshit Paradigms,” “The Good the Beige and the Ugly” a spoken word piece with a climbing motif and the gorgeous Radiohead cover “Nice Dream.”
I said this was her sophomore album. MPX’s first album Alice in Stevie Wonderland is also very good (although I like The Good the Beige and the Ugly more). “Earth: A Kit” is one of my favorite songs from either album. It establishes her space alien narrative and her philosophy (I was surprised to find out she didn’t actually write all the original lyrics – it’s so “her”)