Ida


Elizabeth Mitchell: guitar, vocals
Dan Littleton:
guitar, vocals
Karla Schickele:
bass, vocals
Michael Littleton:
drums

photo by Pat Graham 1997

 
 
 

Ida are in an enviable position. If stereotypes are defined as "ideas lacking in originality and inventiveness," there is nothing stereotypical about Ida. They are incredibly unique. They aren't doing something loud or stupid or zany to get attention, like the kid that you thought was "unique" in high school but later realized was an insecure jerk. Not Ida. They are writing quiet, mostly acoustic songs in the back of the class, songs that really have no parallel in the independent rock community. Although they are playing guitars and singing like every other musician, the quiet beginnings of their songs aren't just the teaser for the big distortion kick in. Quiet is the medium - subtly blending non-standard tunings, unbelievable harmonies, and intelligent, compelling lyrics that refuse to milk the easy rhyme. Ida have an original, nakedly sincere voice and they resignedly show it. No one who's suffered the little resentments and miscommunications of a long-term relationship should be immune to lyrics on their critically-acclaimed CD I Know About You like "little things pile up and turn into bigger things and I want you to notice, and I want you to try." When you listen to Liz sing of lost friendship as a "perfect and graceful fading" or of "scraping love from the dust that covers your fingerprints" in "Thank You" you are left with an image and a sensation of loss, not a description or a conclusion. Ida leave the wound open in description. They do not summarize and stereotype. They do not reduce for consumption or closure. They show, they do not tell.

Still, we should tell you a bit about their history. Between 1985 and 1989 Dan was a member of the seminal Annapolis punk band The Hated. Since their breakup in 1989 Dan has played in a number of bands, including Three Shades of Dirty, Choke, and Slack (with Jenny Toomey). Dan is currently a guitar player and singer in the trio Liquorice (also with Jenny Toomey), who released their debut CD/LP Listening Cap on 4AD in 1996. Before meeting Dan in 1992, Liz had been performing in New York and Providence, RI mostly in an acoustic duo with Lisa Loeb, whose song on the Reality Bites soundtrack "Stay" catapulted her into the limelight. In fact, if you listen carefully you can hear Dan and Liz playing guitar and singing in the background.

After the release of their debut CD Tales of Brave Ida, Dan's brother Michael (aka Miggy) joined the duo on drums. With this added element, Ida set to work on their critically acclaimed sophomore effort, I Know About You. The trio grew to a solid foursome in 1996 with the permanent of addition of Karla Shickele on bass, who is also in Beekeeper. Not only did they gain an incredible bassist, but a stunning third voice and chilling songwriter.

With this new lineup, Ida continued to record and toured extensively with bands like Tsunami, Retsin, Low, Beekeeper, The Secret Stars and Lori Carson. On many tours, Ida brought along violinist Ida Pearle and cellist Elaine Ahn, or recruited other Beekeepers or Retsins to join them on stage.

Ida was in the studio for a good part of 1999, working on their next full-length, a highly-anticipated release. They plan on touring the US in Spring 2000 to give fans a taste of their new material. See tour dates for more info!

Simple Machines Releases

SMR 35 Ida
Tales of Brave Ida CD
1994
CD: $11

The 14-song debut CD of Ida. At the time of recording in 1993, Ida was a guitar duo from Brooklyn, our friends Dan Littleton and Liz Mitchell. Dan grew up in Annapolis, MD and was in the much-loved punk band the Hated. Since the Hated's breakup in the late 80s, Dan worked on side projects like Slack & Liquorice with Jenny Toomey. Before meeting Dan, Liz was in an acoustic duo with Lisa Loeb. In fact, both Dan and Liz played and sang on the super-hit "Stay." Tales of Brave Ida is a stunning debut and an absolute essential for Ida fans one and all.

Review

SMR 39 Ida
It's Not Alright/ Thank You 7"
1995
out of print

7" recorded after Tales of Brave Ida introduces Dan's brother, Michael on drums. Great songs - a rocker from Dan on the A side, and a sweet, poignant song from Liz on the B.

Review

SMR 47 Ida
I Know About You CD
1996
CD: $11

On their second full-length, Ida absolutely shines. Ida have an original, nakedly sincere voice and they resignedly show it. No small task for a band that lives in the middle of New York City where flash, attitude and publicists make up the bulk of rocker content. But Ida's trump card is an honest recognizable voice - the core of what makes any artist historically great. Ida are one of the only bands we know that can take the numbingly complicated emotional content of daily life and somehow distill it to its most simple lyric essence, while at the same time not diminishing its complexity of meaning. This is ten times the record we hoped they would one day make. Every line resonates, is quotable, generous, bittersweet and hopeful. We hope you enjoy it.

Review

SMR 51
Ida/Beekeeper
7"
1997
out of print

1997 tour single from Ida and NYC's Beekeeper. Ida's song glows from within, with Liz and new bass player Karla trading melancholy vocal lines, and are joined by Dan at the end for a gorgeous three part harmony. Beekeeper give us the perfect compliment, with a catchy upbeat song that jumps with dual harmonies. In a pearly silver jacket.

SMR 54 Ida
Ten Small Paces CD
1997
CD: $11

Ida's third record shows a departure from the norm. Here, Ida pieces together a scrapbook of an album, a total of 15 tracks recorded in almost as many places, nestling five covers from songwriters as diverse as Bill Monroe and Brian Eno between the ten original tracks. Some four-track, some studio, some bedroom tracks, and as always, Ida's singing and songwriting itself is to be cherished and admired for making hearts swell.

Review

SMR 55 Ida
Poor Dumb Bird 7"
1997
out of print

A gorgeous three song 7" with a song by bassist Karla on the A side plus two non-album tracks, including a cover of Richard Thompson's "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" and Prince's..oops! I mean The Artist's "When U Were Mine". Metallic blue cover, with basketball photos of Ida.

The Ida Discography

1994

Tales of Brave Ida CD

Simple Machines

available

1995

It's Not Alright 7"

Simple Machines

out of print

1996

I Know About You CD

Simple Machines

available

1996

Ida/Deadwood Divine split 7"

Tree Records

 

1996

Never Kept a Diary comp CD

Motorcoat Records

contact Motorcoat

1996

Indie Rock Blueprint comp CD

Go! Records

 

1997

Ida/Beekeeper tour 7"

Simple Machines

out of print

1997

Ten Small Paces CD

Simple Machines

available

1997

Poor Dumb Bird 7"

Simple Machines

available

1997

Ida/Secret Stars 7"

RW Records

out of print

1997

Ida/Portastatic split 7"

Trash Heap Magazine

out of print

1998

The Ida/Retsin Family CDEP

Muss My Hair

contact Muss My Hair

1999

Losing True CDEP

Bingo Records

contact Bingo

2000

Will You Find Me CD/LP

Tiger Style Records

contact Tiger Style

You can get any of the Ida titles listed as available from Dischord mailorder. Also, check out Ida's fabulous official website at www.idamusic.com.

There are also two listservs for Ida fans to join. For idle chatter you can join idaidaida@egroups.com. For news only, join idanews@egroups.com.

Check Tour Dates for Ida.

 


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