Generally when a musician draws across her face with what looks like Crayola washable markers in pastel colors, it would be cause for concern. These days, though, the singer known as Sia can do no wrong, having found both success and admiration with her newest record Some People Have Real Problems.
I first fell in love with the Australian crooner when she did work with downtempo band Zero 7; she had me at "I'm watching porn in my hotel dressing gown" in their track "Destiny." Her solo full-length Some People will shake people's convictions for her being a strictly ballad singer from her gained notoriety with "Breathe Me," which was featured on HBO's Six Feet Under series finale.
Harboring a hybrid of Fiona Apple's sultry hooks and Shannon Wright's lyrics, Sia's voice is her strongest instrument, her inflections and the folds of her range producing such an incredible tidal wave of sound. Also maybe channeling some Elvis for her deep belly bellows, Sia's voice already sets her apart from the rest on her sheer distinction, which I can't say of a lot of singers in general these days.
Track one "Little Black Sandals" opens the Sia show with soft drums, piano, and a distinct pop/R&B vibe, "These little black sandals are walking me away" being sung through clenched teeth. Current single "Day Too Soon" has all the elements of making it radio friendly but still keeping true to her rough, warbling roar. The video for the song also features her riding a swan boat through a park, which is so strange and endearing at the same time, but seems to fit.
"I Go To Sleep" is the standout sleeper ballad, a string-infused powerhouse of piano and hat cymbals coming together for a sexy and tragic romantic feel, full of regret, nostalgia, and naughtiness. I can feel it in the depths of my own belly as she bolts out "I go to sleep" in the chorus.
From "The Girl You Lost To Cocaine" and the lyric "I never get laid while I'm running your life," to "Playground," an upbeat light synth showcase, to "Soon We'll Be Found," a harried track composed of a sense of urgency, Some People shows that Sia is here to stay. I imagine her playing in a lounge bar atop a glittery piano just as much on stage at the Fillmore, and I love that about her.
Sia's tour starts the day after Valentine's Day, which includes a stop at this year's SXSW; be sure to check her out post-chocolate coma.
02.15.08 - San Diego, CA (Belly Up Tavern)
02.16.08 - Tucson, AZ (Club Congress)
02.18.08 - San Francisco, CA (The Fillmore)
02.19.08 - Portland, OR (Wonder Ballroom)
02.20.08 - Vancouver (Richards)
02.21.08 - Seattle, WA (Showbox)
02.23.08 - Salt Lake City, UT (Avalon Theater)
02.24.08 - Boulder, CO (Fox Theatre & CafÃ©)
02.26.08 - Minneapolis, MN (Fine Line)
02.27.08 - Milwaukee, WI (Turner Hall)
02.29.08 - Chicago, IL (Park West)
03.01.08 - Detroit, MI (Magic Stick)
03.03.08 - Toronto (Mod Club)
03.04.08 - Montreal (Les Saints)
03.05.08 - Boston, MA (Paradise Rock Club)
03.07.08 - Washington DC (9:30 Club)
03.08.08 - New York, NY (Webster Hall)
03.10.08 - Atlanta, GA (Variety Playhouse)
03.11.08 - New Orleans, LA (The Parish)
03.12.08 - Houston, TX (Warehouse Live)
03.14.08 - Austin, TX (Stubbs for SXSW)
03.15.08 - Dallas, TX (House of Blues)
"Day Too Soon"