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 Hannah Golightly

Something you missed about Miss Li

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Miss Li

By Hannah Golightly

During a ceremonial rant about just how far under the radar Collapse Board really is today – hush now, Everett or the Hipsters will be stampeding to take a peek – Mr True listed a load of songs and I couldn’t tell if he liked them or not, which I deemed to be some of the most successful music writing I’ve read in recent times. It made me more curious to listen that any other love or hate piece ever did… confusion. It’s inspiring. Who knew? Is this what music criticism has come to? Riddles? If so, then I’ll buy the ticket because it works for me.

But among all the random (and I don’t use that word lightly these days given that the most generic pile of life happenings according to UK slang are now labelled ‘random’) songs that probably only ET could realistically bring together in a single article and make work, I found something wrong. I was totally entertained (and I don’t use that word lightly) by the one-page jukebox presenting me with experimental helicopter techno, grimey rap, cabaret retro, psychedelic collaborations, backyard folk pop… but Oh My God… out of all the Miss Li records in the world he chose THIS ONE as his song of the day of the future or parallel dimension? What on earth? I don’t think he came by her music via Amanda Palmer but I can see why he’d think that, given the parameters of their genres which overlap somewhat. Nope, I reckon it was my mention of Miss Li while reviewing Ayla Nereo’s Beheld album a while back. [Spot on – Ed] I felt there was just a hint of Miss Li in Ayla’s music, something comparable but not alike stylistically. I forget what it was now, but it was there at the time.

So I was going to find some decent Miss Li records for ET to listen to pronto in case she forever be filed in his mental record collection under ‘vaguely good’ or ‘slightly unremarkable’ or whatever equivalent he holds up there. But being the terrible researcher that I am and the always inspired dreamer and wanderer, I got instantly distracted by this:

Released earlier this summer unbeknownst to myself or anyone kind enough to pass on that info at the time, it really is a glorious little upbeat pop song. Rumbling drums, rolling guitars and Miss Li’s voice that Will Not Be Denied.

I recommend it be played back-to-back with this nugget of happiness and silliness that reaches deep inside you and grabs your inner child by its little hand and gently-excitedly drags them out to play and dance… in stupid costumes. For no reason other than fun.

I came across Miss Li while working in a vintage arch in Camden Market, London. We played all kinds of records in that shop. One of the best things about the job was that I could play Bodycount whenever I felt like it- or even Machinehead (though I rarely did), Nirvana and Hole, Beck, White Stripes, L7, Donovan, MGMT, Beach Boys, Depeche Mode… no holds barred on the music front in that place. The clothes were like a dreamscape for me to be surrounded by… rows and rows of stuff that belonged in music videos and cult films from the 60s and 80s. My manager was a really smiley Spanish woman who loved good music… she introduced me and the customers to Miss Li on a regular basis… what I mean is, she’d put on Miss Li and the shop would come into full bloom. Suddenly everyone seemed happier, more relaxed, more friendly to the fellow customers, smiling more as they tried on weird clothes… the exact opposite of the mood created in shops that try to be too cool and lose all sense of warmth in the atmosphere. Miss Li is all about the warmth. At the same time, she sounds like she could kick your ass. To me, that’s the perfect combination in a person. To hear it in a sound is comforting and inspiring… but who cares? Every time one of Miss Li’s records was played, without fail, we’d have a customer approach the counter, lean in, and ask us what the music was. Young and old. 20-70 no joke. They’d always try to buy our record off us. I used to say we’d make a fortune if we started stocking copies of Miss Li records. But we never did.

Now stick this song on and go and do the dishes and I bet you the dishes have never been more fun to do in your life:

One Response to Something you missed about Miss Li

  1. Bob Airhart July 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Hi, this is a very good blog article you have about Miss Li. I first heard her music 4 years ago and have craved ever more of her brand of sound.She has a style all of her own that can’t be easily defined and somehow is so familiar and as you say ‘warm’ and friendly.Miss Li plays soft songs and can also play real kick-ax stuff as well and not look foolish doing so and the best part is she uses her own voice and not some auto-tuned or over processed version of it.I hope she continues for a long time making her fun music and delight us all in the process as she really loves what she is doing.Have you heard her new record-Wolves;it is an excellent collection of 17 tracks and I for one think it is one of the best albums I have heard in years.Her style and sound really are Hip or Cool and accessible to us all,no wonder 20 to 70 year olds find her music so enjoyable.

    Bob

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