Ida Reviews  

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

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

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