Although now based out of Berlin, it was arguably Los Angeles that shaped the sound of Laura Carbone’s second record, Empty Sea. Not only was the album recorded in California, much of it was also written there. The album title Empty Sea comes from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “The True Bride” in which a kidnapped princess must empty a lake with a spoon full of holes; “There were moments when I really doubted myself as i had some blocks, retreating to LA to write really gave me the courage to get the album together, the experience of overcoming doubt made me think about the girl with the spoon”.
On Empty Sea, Laura is arguably bolder than ever before. Embracing influences like Nick Cave and The Jesus & Mary Chain, Laura’s not afraid to let the darkness permeate her music. Whether it’s the noisy squall of Cellophane Skin, or the gloomy balladeering of Tangerine Tree, it’s a record that sounds confident tackling a variety of styles and arrangements. It’s not however a record that lacks identity, the omnipresence, and sheer quality of the vocal holds the record together, whether it’s an energetic howl Nadine Shah would be proud of, or a husky country-lilt in the Juanita Stein mold, the vocals are always sublime.
Today to celebrate last months album release, Laura has put together a mixtape of some of the songs that have inspired Empty Sea, featuring the likes of Swans, Anna Calvi and Big Thief.
1. Swans – Just A Little Boy
I’ve been listening a lot to their latest record, “The Glowing Man”. This song, however, is by far my favorite one from this band. It’s a total trance and psychedelic nightmare that instantly dances through my brain.
2. Mazzy Star – Mary of Silence
Another psychedelic favorite of mine that keeps me dreaming and surrounds me with a warm, very welcoming vibe.
3. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Reverence
Oh, that song literally spoils me with beautiful feedback and urges me to walk with my guitar towards an amp. Being on the road with this band only enhanced my love for noise, loudness and feedback.
4. Anna Calvi – Desire
This is all about true drama, dreamlike guitar sounds and a vocal performance created with devout passion.
5. The Cure – Just Like Heaven
This song popped up so often on the radio while I was driving through LA in the spring. No other song combines surreal sunshine with pressure-and-release better. To me, it’s a diamond of sadness.
6. Jeff Buckley – Grace
I wondered what ever happened to Grace and got lost in Jeff Buckley.
7. Nina Simone – Lilac Wine
I could listen to Nina Simone’s truth almost anytime and she would give me a bed to lie down on for a minute before telling me firmly to get up and move on.
8. Michelle Gurevich – Lovers Are Strangers
My very best friend introduced me to her records in a cold January in Berlin. She sticks in my head – together with her sometimes pretty weird instrumentation and the way she composes.
9. Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel
Oh Chris, there’s never been a week without listening to your tunes! I love the guitar sound of this song so much that I could listen to the first second ten hours on repeat.
10. Big Thief – Shark Smile
Listen to the song and you will realize how “open” it is – the arrangement, the vocals, the mix – there is so much room to breathe. Only the heavy lyrics drain the oxygen. All combined, it’s a pure, gentle coma.
11, Lana del Rey – Ultraviolence
I’m in love with this production. Dan Auerbach and Lana del Rey have created an intense warmth for wonderful songs – this song in particular feels so alive, dramatic, low key and so real.
Empty Sea is out now via Duchess Box/Aporia/Future Shocks. Click HERE for more information on Laura Carbone.