Lisa Germano and Me
Lisa Germano is one of that plethora of artists who seem to have made a very distinct critical impact on music, without really garnering any sort of public notice (a trait she seems to share with former label-mate Kristin Hersh). For a career that spans six albums and well over a decade in the business, there is a certain sad irony that the usual reaction you will get when mentioning her music is a blank "Wha' the fuh?".
So, Lisa Germano and me. I came across her courtesy of a song on a music mag mix tape, bought the then first album (Happiness) and have never looked back. That first album; a blend of deceptively-happy sounding songs with some of the most self-revelatory, frankly depressing lyrics ever. A real sugar-coated cyanide pill. Each progressive album has gotten darker and more idiosyncratic.
Lisa has the same honesty in her lyrics as Tori Amos; a great many of the songs, especially the ones about fucked-up relationships, are drawn from her own real-life experiences. You find yourself amazed that she hasn't done something "rather silly" by now as a result; perhaps this is truly music as catharsis.
Its a striking coincidence as well, given the darkness in her work, that my first three album purchases of her's should link with three of the darkest sourcebooks for White Wolf's role-playing game, Vampire. It's probably also relevant that she has been something of a muse for me during my darker hours.
But at the end of the day, I simply think its that Lisa Germano is one of those unique talents that defy neat categorisation. Blending together some of the more unused musical instruments (violin, cello), with truly honest song-writing (à la the Amos) she brings a much-needed darker, more melancholic edge to the 4AD table.