Musical chameleons like SYLVIA GORDON do not come along every day. The multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician and artist (who has worked with BLACK EYED PEAS, MOBY and SPANK ROCK) boldly dons multiple personas as an outlet for her restless, adventurous spirit. She embraces and explores several muses by way of her various musical projects including ART WORLD KILLER (formerly known as KUDU), BETTY BLACK, SYLVIA BLACK and VIVIAN ALIVE!.
On June 28th, she unveils Slow Dance, the long-awaited debut EP from her mesmerizing BETTY BLACK project via Frau Pink Productions/KID Recordings. Produced by Gordon and Benjamin Gilbert, it is the first in a trilogy of thematic releases about the blossoming of young girls into womanhood (from blissful naiveté and longing to the harrowing pangs of innocence lost, self discovery and maturity). A second EP, Bad Weather, is scheduled to follow later this summer.
With Slow Dance, Sylvia summons a multihued tinderbox of stardust memories, unquenchable desires and other-worldly transcendence sunbathed in black and punctuated by unflinchingly heartfelt torch songs against a slow-burning, sonic backdrop that—despite its yearning—is opulent and bold. Enchanted, languid melodies and soothing strings prove to be the perfect partner-in-crime for this southern-steeped storytelling anchored with smoldering, lilting vocals and slow-burning musical landscapes heavily inspired by early 60’s girl groups (The Shirelles, The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las), Nashville country, Memphis blues and Phil Spector’s cacophonous “wall of sound”.
“I used my younger sisters as inspiration at a time when they were just out of high school and excitedly dreaming of life beyond the home they knew”, she explains. “I framed it using musical elements from the late 50’s and early 60’s as the backdrop for this project since people tend to look back fondly on this period in the U.S. as a time of simple innocence. But much like a good David Lynch film, I wanted to use that illusion of innocence to uncover its darker undercurrents… which will further reveal themselves in future Betty Black EPs to come.”
Throughout the 6-track EP, Sylvia seductively glides through buoyant terrains weaving a dreamlike journey through love and its twisted shadows. At turns dark and atmospheric, hedonistic and haunting, her erotically charged, velveteen voice possesses an intimacy and raw emotion that enthralls listeners.
Songs like the euphoric lead single “Spring Blossoms”, “Ever Fallen in Love” (Buzzcocks cover), the title track and quixotic closer “Low Tide Lullaby” recall Siouxsie and the Banshees’ enigmatic post-punk mystique, Bat For Lashes’ mythical poeticism and the fragrant heartbreak pop of Dusty Springfield and Patsy Cline. While the mascara-tainted ballads – “Came Home Cryin’” and “Will You Still Love Me” (a sublime cover of the timeless Carole King-penned classic) – showcase the set’s swelling oceanic beauty, soaring lyrical depth and intricate musical sophistication.
The heat-you-up-melt-you-down sensibility and sultry sensuality that permeates throughout Slow Dance reflects a sense of romanticism, innocence and nostalgia. Gordon’s intuitive ability to craft vivid, melodic tales of love, loss and longing (with equal parts smoke and bite) has made her an in-demand songwriter and collaborator, having worked with WILLIAM ORBIT, KELIS, BENNY BENASSI, TELEPOPMUSIK and N-DUBZ.
And then there are her co-writing credits on the BLACK EYED PEAS’ “Meet Me Halfway” and “The Best One Yet (The Boy).” The four-million-selling “Meet Me Halfway” was the third Top 10 single from the Peas’ multi-platinum, Grammy-winning fifth album, The E.N.D, while “The Best One Yet” is featured on the hip-pop act’s sixth studio album, the multi-million-selling The Beginning. Gordon recently won an ASCAP Pop Music Award for the melancholic and rhythmic “Meet Me Halfway” – one of the most performed pop music song of 2010.
BETTY BLACK SLOW DANCE EP WILL BE RELEASED JUNE 28TH
ON FRAU PINK PRODUCTIONS/KID RECORDINGS
Will You Still Love Me
Ever Fallen In Love
Came Home Cryin’
Low Tide Lullaby