Monday, December 16, 2013

First Listen: Sarah Borrello "Live at MIT"

Sarah Borrello recently landed on my list of favorite records of 2013 at number 3, was in the running for "Most Bad Ass Local Rocker" in the BIG RED Recognitions, and has generally just been grabbing my (and everyone elses) attention all over the Northeast and beyond. I just found out that she released a 6 track (well, one of them is a mash-up of 3 tracks, so more like 9 tracks) live record that was recorded at MIT back in October.

Borrello does three things right for me in this release: 1) She released a live recording "officially"-or at least made it accessible for people to listen to. Something I have said time and time again all artists should do. That way we know what we are in for when we come see you for the first time and you can't hide behind production. Note: Borrello's high energy, soul driven vocals do anything but hide! 2) She takes a cover tune and completely owns it makes it her own. and 3) The girl just plain kicks ass.

Here is my First Listen review...where I listen all the way through once and regurgitate my thoughts here for you to read up on.

The record kicks of with that mash up tune of three different songs in one 17ish minute track. Starting mainly acapella but still completely captivating, I am so encapsulated in this girl's voice that I hardly notice when a faint drum thumping enters somewhere into the track, then a mean riff follows and finally  the second tune in the medley comes in hard. There is a nice break down in their as well, with Borrello telling the crowd that "they don't bite...too much" in an effort to get folks to crowd in closer.

'Stranglehold' was a track from Borrello's latest record 'Exit' that really stuck with me long afterwards
and the live version is no different. The band starts with a pretty funny blues turnaround into this heavier feel of a song. When that chorus line "oh no, I got it so bad..." comes around I am floored and really "in it". Very emotional and heavy songs and performances this lady throws forth at her audience.

Sarah definitely has a strong bluesy influence, but theres some heavier alterative stuff in there as well. She dances a real fine line between genres, sometimes showing jamband influences in those breakdowns, sometimes showing the delta blues influences, and some psychadelic-Jopinesque influences as well. I am not sure you can really pigeon hole this young lady to a specific sound. I think the funniest part of the recording is the banter between tracks and to really see Borrello's personality shine through. She is such a powerhouse of a performer it is great to witness her lighter, joking side between tracks. The band has a great feel and vibe to them, you can tell everyone is having a great time on stage and it shows in the performance and sound.

Final thought...this gal is f***ing fierce.

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