Tales Of Brave Ida CD
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 398 - Oct 10, 1994
On the surface, Ida makes music for grey winter
days. The band's songs are shadowy and barren, yet surprisingly melodic
with fuzzy overtones. Ida is the Brooklyn duo Dan Littleton and Liz Mitchell;
both play guitar and harmonize marvelously. With the shrewd addition of
a forceful, moody cello provided by Julia Kent, they spin somber psychedelic
webs that are worthy of comparison to the dark edges of the soul mined
by the Velvet Underground and Nick Drake - there's even a quirky yet appropriately
cloudy instrumental here named after the latter. Wistful tunes like "Tempting,"
"Slow Dance" and "Vacation" make Tales Of The Brave Ida as potent a debut
as we've heard all year.
It's Not Alright 7"
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 436 - Jul 24, 1995
The latest from New York City's Ida displays
two different types of song styles. The A-side's "It's Not Alright" is
a gruff pop song complete with catchy guitar chords and lyrics with vocals
provided by guitarist Dan Littleton (also of Liquorice). The B-side, "Thank-You,"
is soft and folky, featuring timid guitar and the Suzanne Vega-like vocals
of guitarist Liz Mitchell. The variety of the single makes it suitable
for more than one mood.
I Know About You CD
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 476 - May 27, 1996
The second full-length by New York trio Ida
(the group was a duo on its debut, Tales Of Brave Ida) creeps out of your
speakers like a boat breaking through a dense fog. Subtle, gentle and
picturesque. I Know About You is consistently memorable, especially on
the gently building opening track "Little Things," which gathers meaning
and emotion as it rolls along. Ida's comprised of Dan Littleton, an ex-punk
rocker and current member of Liquorice, his brother Michael Littleton
and Liz Mitchell (who used to perform in a group with Lisa Loeb), whose
soft, yet penetrating vocal intricacies are at the core of the group.
The trio sounds at once sparse and simple, suggesting that its music is
most comfortable hanging like ambiguous musical wallpaper that doesn't
require deeper examination. But on tracks like "Thank You" and the smoldering
"Requator," Mitchell's occasionally poetic lyrics, which bear similarities
to Suzanne Vega, bring the group's complexities to life. Amid all the
emotional snafus. Ida's music is amazingly musical, boasting matured melodies
whose dark, dimly-lit edges turn out to be one of the most enchanting
aspects of the record. After a few listens, I Know About You will become
a record to keep turning to after the shallow din of disposable college-rock
has worn you out. Also hear: "Back Burner," "Downtown" and `August Again."
There's another great I Know About You review at www.popshots.org
Ten Small Paces
From the pages of the CMJ New Music Report, Issue: 537 - Sep 8, 1997
Recorded over a span of several years, in
more than a handful of studios, Ida's third release is more like 14 scattered
pages of notes rather than the developed thesis that one might anticipate.
The band continues to grow, however, revealing its evolution on Ten Small
Places. The vocal and guitar interplay between Dan Littleton and Elizabeth
Mitchell introduced as a salient feature of Ida on the first album was
enhanced on the second release, I Know About You, with the drum rhythms
of Michael Littleton; here, Karla Shickele (Beekeeper) adds not only delicate
bass, but another impressive voice to Dan and Liz's winsome vocal melodies.
Shickele also contributes some songwriting on this record, including the
single "Poor Dumb Bird." In addition to offering several new originals,
Ida pays tribute to some of its favorites, doing covers of songs by Neil
Young, Bill Monroe and the Secret Stars (as well as singing a tribute
to the Secret Stars, "Les ?toiles Secr?tes"). All 14 songs on Places are
sparse and unassuming. We predict that the band's fourth album, rumored
to be coming out on Capitol next year, will be the one to sweep listeners
off their feet. Until then, investigate Small Places such as "Fallen Arrow,"
"Dream Date," and the spare, seemingly impromptu, but no less exquisite,
cover of Monroe's "Blue Moon Over Kentucky."
Check out another Ten Small Paces review at www.popshots.org