Alina Simone made her way into my heart many years ago when I first heard her in the band Disfarmer. She's a lovely person with a bright spark. Enjoy her set!

With love,

Photograph by Vinciane Verguethen

I was born in Kharkov, Ukraine but my songs are mostly about the American cities and towns that I've called home: the suburbas of Massachusetts, the glittering sprawl of NEw York City and the flat, open spaces of Texas.

My family immigrated to the United States when I was 2 years old after my father was blacklisted by the KGB for refusal to cooperate. 'I grew up in Massachusetts, raised mostly by my Russian grandmother and studied photography at the school of Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Since then I have lived in France, Texas, New York City, Siberia and (now) North Carolina.

The people I've know are what my songs are about-faceless waitresses and data collectors, willful drifters and true-love seekers- how we found each other and tried hard to understand each other and got bored and lost each other and found each other again. And the messy places where everything and nothing seems to happen, the vacant lots, playgrounds, pawn shops and highways, sever as backdrops.

In 2005-2006, I toured the US and Europe, did a residency at Pianos in New York City and shared bills with Dead Meadow (Matador), Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett of Arcade Fire), Scout Niblett (Too Pure), Jason Anderson (K Records), John Collett (Broken Social Scene), Orienda Fink (Saddle Creek), Eugene Mirman (Subpop), Bettie Seveert and Alec Ounsworth (Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah) among others.

Ha Chorni Den by Yanka

Songs 1 & 18: Yanka Dyagileva was a Russian punk-folk singer who drowned in 1991 when she was 25. Her songs are so raw and beauitful and go straight to the heart. And there is no other woman in Russian music history as brave as she is- she criss-crossed the Soviet Union by train, often alone, to play shows in apartments and school cafeterias. Her music was never commercially released during her lifetime. The first Yanka song is the first track from her album "Prodano" (which means "Sold" in Russian). The translation of the title is "On the Black Day." The last song is the one she recorded just before she drowned.

Cold Cold Water by Mirah

I just think this song is lovely and enchanting- Phil Elvrum's production is brilliant. Are you out there, Phil? I love you!

New Radio by Bikini Kill

... ah, I will always love them more than Le Tigre. Punk Rawk!

Last Kind Word Blues by Geeshie Wiley

Geeshie Wiley is an early blues singer and very little is known about her life. Revenant Records has released some of her songs on their "American Primitive" series. Haunting and the words are good too.

Honeycomb by Helium

"Dirt of Luck is a great Helium album. Every song is magical!

Nancy Sings by Jandek

Okay, so a girl isn't really responsible for this song. Jandek, the Houston-based indie rock recluse, wrote it. But her voice and delivery makes this my favorite Jandek song.

Everything Is Everything by Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill's voice just floors me. Her melodies and harmonies are amazing.

I'm On My Way To Canaan by Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson will always be the queen of gospel. She is the embodiment of soul and I listen to her albums ALL THE TIME. Especially "The Essential Mahalia Jackson."

Camden Town Rain by Mary Lou Lord

I grew up in Massachusetts listening to Mary Lou Lord playing in the subways of Boston. She is my hero and the words to this song are amazing. This song is from a Kill Rockstars "Stars Kill Rock" compilation.

Do I Move You? by Nina Simone

Nina Simone was a genius. Nuff said.

Yuri-G by PJ Harvey

We all know PJ Harvey is amazing, but 4-track demos proves that her songs are 100% her own. This stripped down version of Yuri-G is absolutely chilling.

God's Gonna Cut You Down by Odetta

Odetta wrote a lot of pretty folk songs and her delivery is always good, but it's her gospel covers that really floor me.

Maybe by The Shangri-Las

We all know that Phil Spector wrote and produced this song, but the Shangri-Las have a really sassy delivery that other girl groups lacked.

Heroine by Sinead O'Connor

I think Bono actually wrote this song, but Sinead has written enough amazing songs to prove her worth a thousand times over. And it's her beauitful delivery that makes the song what it is, no?

Water's Edge by Tsunami

Tsunami was Jenny Toomey's band. A great soundtrack for the summer, in case your looking for one!

Bang by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

From the Yeah Yeah Yeahs first EP. Regardless of what came later, this is why I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

This Is Not Your Wedding Song by Excuse 17

Excuse 17 was an early incarnation of Sleater-Kinney and it STILL sounds good!

Na Doroge Pyatat by Yanka

See Tile track and artist 1

# Title Artist
1. Ha Chorni Den Yanka
2. Cold Cold Water Mirah
3. New Radio Bikini Kill
4. Last Kind Word Blues Geeshie Wiley
5. Honeycomb Helium
6. Nancy Sings Jandek
7. Everything is Everything Lauryn Hill
8. I'm On My Way to Canaan Mahalia Jackson
9. Camden Town Rain Mary Lou Lord
10. Do I Move You? Nina Simone
11. Yuri-G PJ Harvey
12. God's Gonna Cut You Down Odetta
13. Maybe The Shangri-Las
14. Heroine Sinead O'Connor
15. Water's Edge Tsunami
16. Bang Yeah Yeah Yeahs
17. This Is Not Your Wedding Song Excuse 17
18. Na Doroge Pyatat Yanka

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