Fun fact: Louise Burns was featured in NYLON 10 years ago. At the time, her band Lillix were perhaps best known for being signed to Madonna's Maverick record label. Needless to say, a lot has changed for the musician since then. "In my Lillix stage, that was all about compromising," recalls Burns, adding, "From that time in my life I've become quite stubborn and for the most part I just want to play good songs with good bands and have it not feel like a business."
It hardly sounds like one anymore--the Vancouver-based musician struck out on her own, with her second solo album, The Midnight Mass, coming out today. Material Girl pop, it's not, but the melodies find inspiration in the synth-addled dark-pop groups of the '80s. "My favorite band is The Cure, and I wanted to embrace that," she notes. "I decided to tap into the influences that I have but didn't [reference] in the first record. It was very purist, but this time a lot of soundtrack music influenced me--like Twin Peaks. I wanted to create more of an atmospheric record that's easier to escape into in your head."
The end result is an effortlessly moody collection of tracks that flaunt Burns' pop bona fides even while she delivers lines like, "Every pretty rose is waiting to die." It's not just the seminal goth-rockers who seem to have left their mark on Burns; "He's My Woman" has a country twang to it, while on tracks like "Don't Like Sunny Days" there are references to '60s girl groups and Wall of Sound albums, only seen through a haze of David Lynchian fog. If it sounds a bit like another band we know and love--the Raveonettes--it might have something to do with the fact that Burns had the duo's Sune Rose Wagner co-produce, alongside Colin Stewart. Also on board to help her in the studio? Ladyhawke's Darcy Hancock, Cat Power's Gregg Foreman, and Brasstronaut's Brenna Saul all lent a musical hand.
The end result is something that, 10 years into a career, seems to be a long time coming for Burns (who also plays in the band Gold & Youth). "I've been making records for a long time, so this was about having a bit more of an experimental time in the studio," she says. "I don't see a whole lot of parallels between then and now--other than me playing music! And back then, I hoped that I'd still be doing it."
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