Marissa Nadler

July (BELLA UNION)

“Still remember all the words/to every song you’ve ever heard/drive,” Marissa Nadler sings on the mournful opener of her sixth record, the ironically titled July. But there’s nothing sunny here, nothing that’s gonna make you want to head to the beach, and you would not even dare bump this on the way. This is a dark, lush winter record, produced by Randall Dunn, best known for work with heavier acts like Sunn O))) and Wolves in the Throne Room. But their collaboration is fruitful, all menacing strings and melancholy mood. The best elements are Nadler’s voice and songwriting, an even sadder Sharon Van Etten, and her shrugging declaration at July’s end---“Maybe it’s the weather/but I’ve got nothing in my heart”---has been so earned across the 10 songs preceding it that it comes off not melodramatic but matter-of-fact, no regrets. A stellar, stunning album.

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