Marian Call | Vanilla

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Folk: like Joni Pop: Folky Pop Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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by Marian Call

A collection of savvy songs for people who like their music smart, sweet, and honest -- a lo-fi funky jazzy folky debut out of Anchorage, Alaska.
Genre: Folk: like Joni
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Fret
3:04 $0.99
2. Dark Dark Eyes
4:25 $0.99
3. The Volvo Song
2:42 $0.99
4. Flying Feels Like
4:46 $0.99
5. Sunday Afternoon
3:33 $0.99
6. Prologue
0:10 album only
7. Vanilla (I'm Not Sexy)
5:00 $0.99
8. Postmortem
0:06 album only
9. I'm Yours
4:30 $0.99
10. Rx - Stop What You're Doing
6:24 $0.99
11. Your Fault
3:37 $0.99
12. Chelsea Morning
3:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Marian Call is a composer and singer currently working and living in Anchorage, Alaska. Her self-produced debut album, Vanilla, is an home-baked lo-fi collection of unorthodox alt-folk songs. She sings with a hint of classical training and a deep undercurrent of soul. Marian's compositions are half study & calculation, half improvisational instinct. Her positive yet direct, honest lyrics appeal to people of discerning taste across all demographics.

If it's an artist comparison you're looking for, the following should serve: the love child of Joni Mitchell and Jason Mraz gets a little tipsy at a party hosted by Pink Martini and winds up staying out all night carousing with Ani DiFranco, Diana Krall, Fiona Apple, Erin McKeown, Norah Jones, & the Ditty Bops, only to be arrested for double inflections, odd instrumentation, and irregular phrase lengths by Sufjan Stevens and Regina Spektor.

"Vanilla" is Marian's first album and her magnum opus thus far. She's done several side projects as well, like the Song of the Month project (bootlegs & basement recordings) and a work by commission for nerds and geeks (the album "Got to Fly").

Reviews from bloggers and Marian's online fans:

"Marian’s music is hard to pin down; it’s like folk but not at all cloying like so many folk singers are. It’s not dance or rock; it’s simple, personal, small band coffee-shop kinda stuff. Sorta. If you know Sara Hickman, you know Marian. Her voice is clear and beautiful, and not at all artificial like every gorram singer on the radio these days (and Marian uses that word in one of her songs; like I said, Firefly, baby). The words are intelligent — imagine that! — and she has a fantastic musical sense."
The Bad Astronomer,

"Okay, I don't normally pass on another blogger's links, but it's not every day you come across a voice so pure and beautiful as that of Marian Call. The Bad Astronomy Blog makes mention of her, almost by accident. Still a newcomer, she has a way of bringing indie and folk together in a melody of grace and passion for the arts. Have a listen at her MySpace page, and let me know what you think."
The Quintessential Geek,

"[Marian] has the voice of an angel: pure, clear, strong, and capable of wiping out a city. Talent, great song-writing ability, and a sense of humor: Marian Call is the anti-Britney.
There’s a strong Firefly feel here. “Dark Dark Eyes” is about River, the stray “gorram” pops up, and these songs have a goal we identify with: there’s a strong female character here. A lot of them, really. There’s the one who’s afraid she doesn’t love enough, and the one that surrenders her heart completely. There’s the one who rather wistfully wishes she was sexy and the one who delivers a verbal smackdown to a phony. My favorite songs are “Vanilla (I’m Not Sexy)” which describes my wife’s self-image perfectly, and “Flying Feels Like” which should be riding the Top 40 if Billboard had any taste left. And you will be unable to not sing along with her cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning.” Just give in, you’ll get a headache trying to hold out. Head to her MySpace page for some samples, and more will be available at her web page soon."
C.A. Bridges,

"A modern Joni Mitchell, a Norah Jones without the maudlinosity." C. A. Bridges,

"Marian Call is an up and comer that could rival Diana Krall or Norah Jones. She's much more whimsical, and just as talented, and she's got real personality as well." Ed R,

"I got the new CD last night and listened to it over a quiet dinner and a glass of wine. I must say, it is perfect. I loved hearing the familiar songs in a different context, coming out of my good speakers with all their new friends. Some of the ones I hadn't heard before really blew me away. I think "I'm Yours" may be my new favorite, so simple and honest. I love it." Rich,

"Marian Call's self-produced album, Vanilla, is a cool and eclectic mix of witty lyrics, jazzy vocals, and tight acoustic backing from the guys in the band. These unconventional songs and their sly singer would be comfortable in a smoke-filled Paris nightclub in the 50s, or a funky coffeehouse in Manhattan this weekend. This is a thinking person's album, but still full of feeling and fun." Billz,

"Vanilla is a smart bask in honestly luxurious whim and rhetoric. It flaunts of warm frisky love in a chilled alaskan sun." Luke Fildes,

"The album is a passing whiff of purpose-driven funkiness. It sounds like honesty distilled." Paul,

"Vanilla is as much a twirl around the amusement park as it is a self-depricating spasm of insight. It sounds like acoustic joy jazz with occasional tendencies toward the serious and sultry side of folk." Kristin,



to write a review

Marvin Long

Extra nice
Beautiful storytelling, beautiful singing. Screw the cowbell -- more typewriter!

Rich Stoehr

Harmony and Dissonance and Love Defying Loneliness
By one of those coincidences that can only happen on the Internet, I found Marian Call just as she was preparing her first CD. I saw a picture that led me to a website where I heard her music for the first time. And I fell for it immediately.

I learned that she had written not one, not two, but three songs about characters in the show 'Firefly,' one of my favorites. I learned that she loved books and typewriters (she even includes a typewriter as accompaniment in the song 'Vanilla') and that she was literally assembling her first run of CDs herself, with CDs and cases and labels scattered around her house, all of which was completely charming, and bespoke a character and a personality worth sitting up and taking notice of. And it is that personality which comes out in the music, strong and clear as a bell.

I've listened to all of the songs on 'Vanilla' now dozens of times, and I keep coming back to it again and again. It is good music for a rainy day, but it goes well with sunshine the thick, warm sun of 'Sunday Afternoon,' one of the best songs on the album, sung in a slow, sensual and sleepy style that evokes just the right feeling of those lazy hours of the last day of the week. There are songs for happy times, like the wonderfully simple 'I'm Yours,' a perfect expression of faith and trust in another person. And there are songs for hard times, too, like the shockingly honest 'Your Fault,' the sort of confrontation that is so real but almost never really happens even when you wish it would. There are lighthearted numbers, like 'The Volvo Song' and 'Vanilla,' as well as serious songs like 'Dark Dark Eyes'...and they all blend together to form a tapestry of sound and voice that can simply take you away for a while.

Comparing Marian to other singers seems pointless, as she has a style all her own, both lyrically and in the quality of her voice and how she uses it. There is something about the words she's chosen and the way he sings them -- you can tell she means it. These are honest songs. Each one is like a story, or a little snippet of something overheard. Listening to Marian Call is like a conversation with your best friend at two in the morning, with your favorite music playing in the background -- it is personal, even intimate in how it approaches you and speaks to you and engages you.

When you get this and listen to it for the first time, don't just play it in the background. Get a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, sit down, close your eyes, and just listen. Pay attention. Let it wash over you. Someone like Marian doesn't come along every day, and when she does, you should really slow down and just listen. This is music as it was meant to be.

Michael Walker

This is why CD Baby is so great.
If I may appropriate Chuck Berry's aphorism, Marian Call has a voice just like a-ringin' a bell. 'Vanilla' is quirky without being contrived and tasteful without being bland. It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that--some folk, a helping of jazz, some New Urban feels, but what unites it all is that wonderful, marvelous voice.

Paul Sands

Your voice is beautiful. There is no doubt about that. The songs themselves are a bit too pop-ish or stylized for me. Maybe it is your classical training that takes away from the folk of your your folk songs. Beautiful none-the-less.

Mark Molina

All I can say is .... fantastic!

Mikail McIntosh-Doty

Fun and quirky
At first the music sounded a little too stylized for my taste, but the songs kept sticking in my head. I especially was intrigued by the beginning of "Vanilla" -- the typewriter sounds really set up a funky subtext transitioning to the sax to signal the shift to an answer to the singer's dilemma. A fine CD and one worth sharing. I look forward to her future work. Mikail
PS I first heard her when she sang with the choir one Sunday last spring when she was visiting her dad in Austin. The whole family has talent.