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Alternative & Indie - Released October 5, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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A guitar held up by the neck, a child's head pressed against the holder's body. Cat Power reveals a lot with the cover of her tenth album. The American is up and running again and now she is a mother. At 46, Chan Marshall seems to be doing... better? Well, It's not as if her life, which has been studded with internal chaos, turbulence, a lot of moving around, depression and addiction is going to be all plain sailing from here on in, but Wanderer contains some of her most beautiful songs yet. Stripped-down compositions. A simple piano. A few notes on a guitar. A lean rhythm section. It's clear that the message here is "less is more." Perhaps her aim is to return to the roots of her old folk and blues mentors. Bringing a child into the world during the Trump era is enough to get anyone thinking again... And Cat Power hasn't sung for years. Her tones with their bluesy style, unmistakeable from the first syllable, reach sublime heights here. After a slightly electro detour with Sun, mixed by Zdar from Cassius, she doesn't give us too many surprises here in terms of the pretty classical form of her songs, but the surprise comes in the sheer quality of the tracks. One of her biggest fans, Lana Del Rey, makes an appearance on the album on the track Woman maintaining the sober feel to this beautiful and honest record. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz  
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Folk - Released January 23, 2006 | Matador

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The Greatest (no, it's not a hits collection) makes it clear just how much Chan Marshall grows with each album she releases. Three years on from You Are Free, she sounds reinvented yet again: Marshall returned to Memphis, TN -- where she recorded What Would the Community Think nearly a decade earlier -- to make an homage to the Southern soul and pop she listened to as a young girl. Working with great Memphis soul musicians such as Mabon "Teenie" Hodges, Leroy "Flick" Hodges, and Dave Smith, she crafted an album that is even more focused and accessible than You Are Free was, and pushes her even closer toward straightforward singer/songwriter territory. The title track is a subtle but powerful statement of purpose: with its lush, "Moon River" strings and lyrics about a young boy who wanted to become a boxer, the song is as moving as her earlier work but also a big step away from the angst-ridden diary-rock that her music is sometimes categorized as. Likewise, on the gospel-tinged "Living Proof" and the charming "Could We," Marshall is sexy, strong, and playful, and far from the stereotype of her as a frail, howling waif. But the truth is, sweet Southern songs like these have been in her repertoire since What Would the Community Think's "They Tell Me" and "Taking People" (You Are Free's "Good Woman" and "Half of You" are also touchstones for this album); The Greatest is just a more polished, palatable version of this side of her music. This is the most listenable Cat Power album Marshall has made, and one that could easily win her lots of new fans. It's also far from a sell-out -- The Greatest sounds like the album Marshall wanted to make, without any specific (or larger) audience in mind. And yet, the very things about The Greatest that make it appealing to a larger audience also make it less singular and sublime than, say, Moon Pix or You Are Free. The productions and arrangements on songs like "Lived in Bars" and "Empty Shell" are so immaculate and intricate that they threaten to overwhelm Marshall's gorgeous voice. And, occasionally, the album's warm, soulful, laid-back vibe goes from mellow to sleepy, particularly on "Willie" and "The Moon." Two of The Greatest's best songs show that she doesn't need to be edgy and tortured or gussied up with elaborate productions to sound amazing: "Where Is My Love" reaffirms that all Marshall needs is a piano and that voice to make absolutely spellbinding music. On the other hand, "Love & Communication"'s modern, complicated take on love gains a quiet intensity with judiciously used strings and keyboards. For what it is, The Greatest is exceedingly well done, and people who have never heard of Cat Power before could very well love this album immediately. However, it might take a little more work for those who have loved her music from the beginning. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 1998 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 17, 2003 | Matador

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Folk - Released January 21, 2008 | Matador

Eight years is a long time in almost any artist's career, but in Cat Power's case, it's an even more sizable gulf, as Chan Marshall's collections of other people's songs reflect. Released in 2000, The Covers Record found her becoming an ever more nuanced performer, tempering the rawness and intensity of her earlier albums with a lighter approach. Arriving in 2008, Jukebox reaffirms what a polished artist she's become, especially since her Memphis soul homage The Greatest. But where The Greatest sometimes bordered on slick, Jukebox's blend of country, soul, blues, and jazz feels lived-in and natural. Marshall recorded this set with her touring act, the Dirty Delta Blues Band, featuring some of indie rock's finest players, including her longtime drummer, the Dirty Three's Jim White -- who gives even the quietest moments vitality -- as well as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Judah Bauer and Chavez's Matt Sweeney, so it's not surprising that the album often plays like an especially well-recorded concert. However, some of the session legends she worked with on The Greatest make guest appearances, including Teenie Hodges and Spooner Oldham. Oldham's song for Janis Joplin, "A Woman Left Lonely," appears here, and the original's sophisticated yet earthy sound is one of the album's biggest influences. As on The Covers Record, Marshall makes bold choices. She citifies Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man" (switched to [RoviLink="MC"]"Ramblin' [Wo]Man"[/RoviLink] here), turning it slinky and smoky with spacious drums and rippling Rhodes; despite the very different surroundings, the song's desperate loneliness remains. Joni Mitchell's icily beautiful "Blue" gets a thaw and a late-night feel that are completely different but just as compelling. Not all of Jukebox's transformations are this successful: Marshall's penchant for turning formerly brash songs brooding (like The Covers Record's "Satisfaction") sounds too predictable on Frank Sinatra's "New York." And, while the choice to change James Brown's "I Lost Someone" from searing and pleading to languid was brave, the results fall flat. One of the most drastic remakes is Marshall's own Moon Pix track "Metal Heart," which adds more drama and dynamics to one of her prettiest melodies. While the way this version swings from aching verses to cathartic choruses works, the subtlety and simplicity of the original are missed. Indeed, many of Jukebox's best moments are the simplest. Marshall's reworking of the Highwaymen's 1990 hit "Silver Stallion" frees the song from its dated production, replacing it with acoustic guitar and pedal steel that impart a timeless, restless beauty. She pays Bob Dylan homage with a gritty, defiant, yet reverent take on "I Believe in You" from his 1978 Christian album Slow Train Coming and "Song to Bobby," Jukebox's lone new track, dedicated to and inspired by Dylan so thoroughly that she borrows his trademark cadences without sounding like an impersonation. Uneven as it may be, Jukebox is still a worthwhile portrait of Chan Marshall's artistry. ~ Heather Phares
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Sun

Alternative & Indie - Released September 3, 2012 | Matador

Six years between albums would be a lifetime for many artists, but Cat Power's Chan Marshall managed to pack a couple of lifetimes' worth of experiences between The Greatest and Sun. A happy relationship, health issues and writer's block were among the many things that kept her away from music during that time, and with a life that full, it's no wonder that this album, Marshall's seventh set of original songs, is so different than the one that came before it. Instead of working with veteran musicians, she wrote, recorded, and produced Sun on her own, added electronic instruments to her repertoire, and enlisted Cassius' Philippe Zdar to help with the mixing duties (which he did with a minimum of interference). While it's miles away from The Greatest's retro-soul, Sun isn't Cat Power-goes-electro, either; anyone fearing relentless house beats or an onslaught of cheesy synths should have their fears calmed by the beautiful opening track "Cherokee," where a few tasteful keyboards rev up the yearning chorus, and skittering beats fit right in with the guitar and piano. The song also introduces Sun's remarkably spare production aesthetic, which sounds all the more striking coming after The Greatest's lushness; even if this album is more consciously modern-sounding than its predecessor, it's also a lot less slick. Actually, the willingness and ability to mix, bend, and blend old and new sounds that Marshall shows here isn't such a far cry from the more sonically adventurous moments on Moon Pix and especially You Are Free; she's just expanding on that instinct and adding a more hopeful songwriting bent. What really matters, and what really shines on Sun, is Marshall's voice, which sounds so unabashedly human and lived-in that not even the Auto-Tune on songs such as "3,6,9" can tweak the grit out of it. These songs give Marshall some of the widest-ranging backdrops she's ever had for that voice, whether it's more overtly electronic tracks such as the hypnotic title cut and the ominous "Silent Machine," which suddenly glitches up like ripping the skin off an android, or the more familiar but still compelling territory of "Human Being"'s rolling blues or the delicate piano ballad "Manhattan," which sparkles like freshly fallen snow. Sun also boasts some of her happiest-sounding songs, in particular "Nothin' But Time," an 11-minute epic dedicated to her ex-boyfriend Giovanni Ribisi's teen daughter, to whom Marshall sings "You got nothin' but time/And it ain't got nothin' on you." It seems like the perfect way to end the album, until the actual closing track "Peace and Love," which is the closest Marshall has gotten to hip-hop, brings things to an end with unexpected but welcome humor. Sun lives up to its name, but its album cover is more revealing: like the rainbow crossing Marshall's face, these songs are the meeting point between a stormy past and optimism for the future. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 21, 2000 | Matador

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Folk - Released September 12, 2006 | Matador

The Greatest (no, it's not a hits collection) makes it clear just how much Chan Marshall grows with each album she releases. Three years on from You Are Free, she sounds reinvented yet again: Marshall returned to Memphis, TN -- where she recorded What Would the Community Think nearly a decade earlier -- to make an homage to the Southern soul and pop she listened to as a young girl. Working with great Memphis soul musicians such as Mabon "Teenie" Hodges, Leroy "Flick" Hodges, and Dave Smith, she crafted an album that is even more focused and accessible than You Are Free was, and pushes her even closer toward straightforward singer/songwriter territory. The title track is a subtle but powerful statement of purpose: with its lush, "Moon River" strings and lyrics about a young boy who wanted to become a boxer, the song is as moving as her earlier work but also a big step away from the angst-ridden diary-rock that her music is sometimes categorized as. Likewise, on the gospel-tinged "Living Proof" and the charming "Could We," Marshall is sexy, strong, and playful, and far from the stereotype of her as a frail, howling waif. But the truth is, sweet Southern songs like these have been in her repertoire since What Would the Community Think's "They Tell Me" and "Taking People" (You Are Free's "Good Woman" and "Half of You" are also touchstones for this album); The Greatest is just a more polished, palatable version of this side of her music. This is the most listenable Cat Power album Marshall has made, and one that could easily win her lots of new fans. It's also far from a sell-out -- The Greatest sounds like the album Marshall wanted to make, without any specific (or larger) audience in mind. And yet, the very things about The Greatest that make it appealing to a larger audience also make it less singular and sublime than, say, Moon Pix or You Are Free. The productions and arrangements on songs like "Lived in Bars" and "Empty Shell" are so immaculate and intricate that they threaten to overwhelm Marshall's gorgeous voice. And, occasionally, the album's warm, soulful, laid-back vibe goes from mellow to sleepy, particularly on "Willie" and "The Moon." Two of The Greatest's best songs show that she doesn't need to be edgy and tortured or gussied up with elaborate productions to sound amazing: "Where Is My Love" reaffirms that all Marshall needs is a piano and that voice to make absolutely spellbinding music. On the other hand, "Love & Communication"'s modern, complicated take on love gains a quiet intensity with judiciously used strings and keyboards. For what it is, The Greatest is exceedingly well done, and people who have never heard of Cat Power before could very well love this album immediately. However, it might take a little more work for those who have loved her music from the beginning. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 19, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 16, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 10, 1996 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 13, 1996 | Smells Like Records

£12.49

Alternative & Indie - Released December 9, 2008 | Matador

Cat Power's label, Matador Records, is a leading figure in the early 2000s return to vinyl, releasing many of their higher profile new releases in what had not long before been considered a moribund format. DARK END OF THE STREET goes a step further in the vinyl renaissance: this six-song EP is available only as a handsomely packaged pair of 10-inch EPs in a lavish gatefold sleeve, with no CD or digital download release. The six songs were recorded during the sessions for Cat Power's 2008 album, JUKEBOX; as on that album, all six of these songs are carefully chosen covers given a Memphis soul-tinged makeover. Highlights include a dramatic recasting of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" that replaces the seething anger of the original with a dismissive sneer, and compelling versions of James Carr's title track and Aretha Franklin's "It Ain't Fair."
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 14, 2014 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Folk - Released December 6, 2005 | Matador

The Greatest (no, it's not a hits collection) makes it clear just how much Chan Marshall grows with each album she releases. Three years on from You Are Free, she sounds reinvented yet again: Marshall returned to Memphis, TN -- where she recorded What Would the Community Think nearly a decade earlier -- to make an homage to the Southern soul and pop she listened to as a young girl. Working with great Memphis soul musicians such as Mabon "Teenie" Hodges, Leroy "Flick" Hodges, and Dave Smith, she crafted an album that is even more focused and accessible than You Are Free was, and pushes her even closer toward straightforward singer/songwriter territory. The title track is a subtle but powerful statement of purpose: with its lush, "Moon River" strings and lyrics about a young boy who wanted to become a boxer, the song is as moving as her earlier work but also a big step away from the angst-ridden diary-rock that her music is sometimes categorized as. Likewise, on the gospel-tinged "Living Proof" and the charming "Could We," Marshall is sexy, strong, and playful, and far from the stereotype of her as a frail, howling waif. But the truth is, sweet Southern songs like these have been in her repertoire since What Would the Community Think's "They Tell Me" and "Taking People" (You Are Free's "Good Woman" and "Half of You" are also touchstones for this album); The Greatest is just a more polished, palatable version of this side of her music. This is the most listenable Cat Power album Marshall has made, and one that could easily win her lots of new fans. It's also far from a sell-out -- The Greatest sounds like the album Marshall wanted to make, without any specific (or larger) audience in mind. And yet, the very things about The Greatest that make it appealing to a larger audience also make it less singular and sublime than, say, Moon Pix or You Are Free. The productions and arrangements on songs like "Lived in Bars" and "Empty Shell" are so immaculate and intricate that they threaten to overwhelm Marshall's gorgeous voice. And, occasionally, the album's warm, soulful, laid-back vibe goes from mellow to sleepy, particularly on "Willie" and "The Moon." Two of The Greatest's best songs show that she doesn't need to be edgy and tortured or gussied up with elaborate productions to sound amazing: "Where Is My Love" reaffirms that all Marshall needs is a piano and that voice to make absolutely spellbinding music. On the other hand, "Love & Communication"'s modern, complicated take on love gains a quiet intensity with judiciously used strings and keyboards. For what it is, The Greatest is exceedingly well done, and people who have never heard of Cat Power before could very well love this album immediately. However, it might take a little more work for those who have loved her music from the beginning. ~ Heather Phares
£1.49

Pop/Rock - Released June 19, 2012 | Matador

£0.55

Alternative & Indie - Released December 3, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Cat Power in the magazine
  • Less is more
    Less is more A guitar held up by the neck, a child's head pressed against the holder's body. Cat Power reveals a lot with the cover of her tenth album.