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Preview: Marissa Nadler

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the singer-songwriter coming to The Beatnik July 12



Marissa Nadler's recording career has been one long, slow thaw. The frozen lake of emotion on her 2004 debut Ballads of Living and Dying — a formal, literary treatise of macabre observation, rendered by a spectral presence more than a singer/songwriter — had almost entirely melted by 2011, when a surprise release from Kemado Records led to the founding of her own label, the synesthetic Box of Cedar, and a debut redux with her late-life eponymous release, acting like springtime sunshine on the frost. Throughout the gradual chemical transition, the Boston-based artist has kept her aesthetic remarkably intact: a weightless soprano given to impossible gravitas; timeless poetry obsessed with the inexorable passing of time. Her accompaniment, then only snowflake picks and hazy vocal filters, now includes 12-strings, steel guitars and orchestral flourishes, and the primrose British folk that informed her early records went on to annex classic country and even outre metal. Produced by Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth), July backpedals from the dappled meadow of Marissa Nadler into more familiar shadows: Side-dividers "Dead City Emily" and "Was It a Dream" are a heavy drone away from the devil's horns, and the sly-titled "Holiday In" offers a first-person confession of shut-in obsession. Nadler's wintry fiction was plenty compelling, but her summer-of-discontent truths ("Maybe it's the weather/ But I got nothing in my heart") hurt more. Real Live Tigers opens. Tickets $8.

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