Release Date: Aug 17, 2010
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Country, Americana, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Country-Rock, Indie Folk
A stellar debut, but not the one you might expect Lissie Maurus, the singer/songwriter who performs under her first name, owes much of her recent notoriety to her live covers of songs like Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and Kid Cudi’s Pursuit of Happiness, which are as notable for their unexpectedly sublime execution as they are for being so removed from the folky milieu she seems to inhabit. She could easily get pegged as the big-voiced-white-girl-with-a-guitar-who-does-ironic-covers, but the songs are rendered with such obvious, kitsch-less affection that they complicate the whole idea of her. Her basic artistic identity was shaped by her first two EPs, 2007’s largely-unnoticed Lissie and last year’s tremendous “Why You Runnin’.
After releasing one of the best EPs of 2009, Lissie broadens her horizons with Catching a Tiger, an album that mixes her dusky California folk-rock with commercial pop. It’s easy to like someone like Lissie, a 21st century flower child who surely would’ve been voted “most unique” by her high-school classmates if she hadn’t dropped out during senior year. She’s the sort of girl who listened to Patsy Cline records while everyone else was freaking out over Britney Spears, the girl who spent her summer vacations following Phish around while her classmates all went to the beach.
Lissie Maurus (born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois) owns a towering, radio-ready set of pipes, with just the right amount of grit. The same balance is struck on her new LP. Catching a Tiger follows 2009’s promising EP, Why You Runnin’, a fitting introduction to the songwriter’s PBR-soaked purr. This 12-song set works best when Maurus is digging in the darker mud of Americana.
“I’ve fallen in love with Lissie—head & shoulders above anything I’ve heard in a long time.” Now, I’ll forgive you for not trusting my judgement—hell, we’ve only just begun—but that opening statement came from the man behind Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart. Yes, Sir David of Lynch. The Lynchmeister. The outsider’s outsider.
Midwestern newcomer Lissie Maurus's debut EP, released last autumn, reduced one American writer to spluttering "Dude, dude. Awesome" – a reaction that sets up impossible expectations for this album. As a country-folk songwriter with a bit of rust and regret in her voice, she has her moments, but she's equally capable of the kind of drivetime blandness that endeared Sheryl Crow to America's AOR radio programmers.
When Elisabeth Maurus aka Lissie released her debut EP, Why You Runnin', in fall 2009, it seemed a new voice was emerging in indie folk. After years of playing around Los Angeles and performing guest vocalist duties for house artist Morgan Page, Lissie was gaining ground as a recording artist, introducing herself online with acoustic video performances of understated folk songs, including a cover of Hank Williams' "Wedding Bells". Her voice stood out more than the actual songs: at times raspy and at others full and precise, like Grace Slick or Neko Case.
The debut from this Illinois-born, California resident singer/songwriter showcases Lissie's ability to evoke a range of vocal-centered pop music, from Laura Marling-esque folk ("Everywhere I Go") through straight-ahead pop rock ("When I'm Alone"), bluesy stomp ("Little Lovin'"), and even Archies-esque bubblegum ("Stranger"). Lissie sings with conviction and a certain Midwestern charm, and but the diversity of style on Catching a Tiger doesn't always cohere. .
Freddie Gibbs Last year this gangsta-rap classicist from Gary, Ind., made two attention-getting mixtapes, stocking them partly with tracks from his ill-fated affiliation with a major label. The output, combined with the back story, stirred anticipation for his first commercial product, “Str8 ….
Give the girl a second and she’ll steal your heart. Mike Diver 2010. California native Lissie Maurus makes a man sick to his stomach. Not because she’s no good – rather the exact opposite. Catching a Tiger is a debut that dreams beyond typical new artist parameters. It is the work of a girl ….