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Anya Marina
Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II
Chop Shop Records
www.anyamarina.com


San Diego-based radio DJ Anya Marina is presently making her mark as a singer-songwriter with her sophomore record Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II. Produced by Louis XIV's keyboardist Brian Karscig, with a few tracks produced by Spoon's frontman Britt Daniel, Marina's record has an edgy avant-pop slant orbited by cabaret-pop motes and fringed with modern-jazz pizzazz. The Vaudeville-stylized horns of "All The Same To Me" whirl around Marina's intriguing vocal hooks with the heaviness of a looming anvil waiting to land, and the catchy rhythmic strokes of "Move You" invite the listener to join in the billowy swells and invigorating beating. Marina has a flirtatious swagger which flints the smoky glam-rock tones that wick "Afterparty At Jimmy's," and the folksy stomps of "Drop Dead Blues" are sprightly hued in chugging grooves and jangly tambourine chimes.

Marina shows the influence of cutesy-pop styles reflective of Annalee Fury of Monsters Are Waiting in "Vertigo" as her vocals take on a high pitch and a twinkling glint in their timbres. Moving at the rate of a merry-go-round ride through "Lullaby For A Realist" Marina eases into the melody with a daydreamy stroll, then transfers into a jolly canter along "Two Left Feet." The sunny-pop flickers of "Waters In March" are sprigged with tingling sonic effects and nimbly moving undercurrents that delight and dazzle the ears. The gentle sway of "Not A Through Street" is facilitated by echoes of whining guitar chords, and the country-folk strut of "Cowboy" has an eclectic coffeehouse vivaciousness with nibbles of orchestral strings circling overhead. Many of the tracks display a showtune aura and a sexy jazz-vibe; and then there is "High On The Ceiling" with a sultry voicing in Marina's register and handclapping backbeats reminiscent of Rilo Kiley.

Marina's jazz influences are substantial with a grandmother who was a jazz pianist, a grandfather who was a saxophone player, and a father who played the trumpet and piano. It is the avant-pop traits in her music that may have come from being influenced by the music that she played as DJ for a San Diego radio station. Her debut CD, Miss Halfway, released in 2005, garnered her public accolades after the title track was featured on the TV show Grey's Anatomy. The album also showcased tracks from her earlier EP, Exercises In Racketeering, which became her calling card into the San Diego club scene. Anya Marina's music is made up of a number of melodic traits, all of which complement her vocals as if they were specifically spun for her. Avant-pop and eclectic coffeehouse are generally descriptive of sounding unusual and being artsy for the sake of making art. But for Marina, these styles just fit her vocals so well that the esoteric effects and artsy-orientation of the melodies are not even apparent. It's just simply music made for the dimensions of Anya Marina's voice.

-Susan Frances

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