A little over a year ago, I was trolling through Facebook, randomly clicking on posts and links from friends, news-feeds and artists. I came across a link posted by Shirley Manson from Garbage . Those who know me can confirm that I have had a long standing celebrity crush on Ms. Manson. I am a big fan of her music as well as her personally. I find her witty, devilishly sexy (its the accent, boys and girls), and completely charming. She had posted a link to a video and titled it, “the next big thing”. I knew Garbage was back together and trying to make a new record, so my assumption was this was a link to some of the music from those sessions. Instead, the link was for a music video of an artist called FOE. I liked the song and the video was strange and clever. The lyric “are you ready for a clown in a G-string”, made me laugh but what stuck with me was her amazing voice. The singing seemed effortless. I listened to the song one more time and as more of the words made sense to me I really started to love the dark imagery, along with the organ and guitar. The overall sound was more poppy that I usually like, but the combination of beautiful singing and these dark childhood memories had me instantly searching YouTube for more.
At the time, there was only one other song I could find, but I did come across a video of somber, hair in the eyes Hannah Clark (aka FOE) covering a Nirvana song, Serve the Servants. Again, it was the effortlessness of her singing, her flawless pitch (to my untrained ear) that captured me. I found a link (that has been pulled by the artist) for a song called, A Handsome Stranger Called Death, which only cemented my appreciation for FOE’s talent and songwriting ability. This is still my favorite song of hers. Here is a live version *
FOE’s tumblr site offered me a vinyl copy of an EP called Hot New Trash, which I promptly paid the purchase price to own. It contained my second favorite (at that time) track, Genie in a Coke Can. It has a little heavier sound and is lyrically fantastic.
Her debut record was just released on the 16th of January. Bad Dream Hotline comes in at just under 40 minutes. I have played this record close to 15 times since it came in the mail. A new vocal version of Handsome Stranger is the highlight for me. Tyrant song, the link Shirley Manson put up, is also on the record.
FOE’s strength is her ability to take dark, dreamlike images and put them into well constructed music that, while very pop in nature, refuses to be categorized as such. The songs are often short, most coming in around three minutes and loaded with hooks that rival any artist currently making music. I wish she would challenge herself vocally, but that is the only real criticism I have. You should all listen to her and decide for yourselves if she cuts the bill. I am confident you will enjoy the journey.
I am linking a few more songs.
A live version of Get Money. A song I didn’t love at first, but now…woh boy!
Finally, a fantastic cover put out for Halloween. Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand.
There are also several short video releases that are darkly funny. Whatever you can find from her will not disappoint.