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Guest of the Month June 2012: LoneLady

LoneLady is Julie Campbell. Based in Manchester, she began making economical, four-track recordings with guitar and a drum machine in 2005. Small local label ‘Filthy Home Recordings’ released two singles and an EP. These early recordings were well received locally and nationally, and won her a place in the Anthony Wilson-hosted Showcase at 2006’s world-famous South by Southwest Festival in Texas. In 2007 LoneLady inaugurated Too Pure’s Singles Club with a 7”, her first proper studio recording.

She signed to Warp records in 2009 and released two singles, before her debut album ‘Nerve Up’ was released to wide critical acclaim in February 2010.

In July 2011 LoneLady headlined a Manchester Showcase at the prestigious Manchester International Festival.

LoneLady and Women Make Music

LoneLady is one of our Women Make Music funding recipients. Her piece ‘The Utilitarian Poetic’ is an installation in association with the Manchester Modernist Society, premiering the new track ‘Good Morning, Midnight’.

Find out all about ‘The Utilitarian Poetic’

We asked LoneLady what’s been on her playlist recently. She told us –

Arthur Russell
A composer of experimental disco I suppose you could call it, active in New York from the late 60’s onward. I love the minimalist approach and freshness of his music. He plays the cello in an idiosyncratic way, making it sound light, intrepid, mischievous. His voice, and the subject matter of many of his songs has a wonderful child-like quality to it. ‘Tree House’ simply repeats the world ‘tree house! schoolbell!’ gleefully. The music often seems to hark back to a time of green fields, water fights, tree climbing, long summers; it reminds me to be playful, and that, as Arthur Russell says, ‘adults are crazy’.

Popol Vuh – ‘Brüder des Schattens – Söhne des Lichts’  (from the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s film ‘Nosferatu’)
This piece starts with a slow chant that is totally spine chilling; it has something of the Sublime and of timelessness about it. Over the next 18 minutes or so it evolves and modulates completely away from this in a way that I experience visually as well as aurally, as though it were old cine-footage. I listen to this on the train, and whether travelling through snowy highland mountainscape or shooting past suburban backyards, it seems to imbue everything with a mysterious knowledge.

Throbbing Gristle  – ‘The Second Annual Report’
I’m interested in extremes, the brutalised element, and how far can this go within a ‘pop’ or ‘rock’ song. This record  conjures blistering noise and cut-up nightmares via a northern industrial psyche.  Music as a kind of reportage from a landscape both personal and regional fascinates me and is something I want to explore further.

A reappraisal of Nico as a solo artist is long overdue. Post-Velvet Underground and ‘Chelsea Girls’ she found her true self. The Marble Index, Desertshore and Drama Of Exile in particular constitute an incredible body of work; austere, timeless, visionary. The fuller arrangements are beautiful, but the versions with just Nico, her voice and harmonium only, the song pared back to its steel frame, I find thrilling. I love to pare down, to take a less-is-more approach. It’s a challenge to make the song as good as it can possibly be without obscuring or distracting with superfluous ingredients.

Grimes – ‘Oblivion’
A recent single by a new 4AD artist. I had the radio on and this caught my ear – it seemed to shimmer and sounded a bit magical;  the ‘magical’ is a quality worth pursuing I think, and I try to.