Marissa Nadler talks genre-bending and storytelling in advance of her Turf show tonight


Marissa Nadler has a unique style of music that is hard to peg down--not that the reviewers haven't tried. Nadler's sound has been classified as folk, dream-folk, alternative folk, eerie, and even Gothic--all words that the songstress more or less accepts, though somewhat wryly.


"I avoid genres entirely," Nadler said in a phone interview. "The way that people describe things is so limiting. All music is an amalgamation of all things that have come before--I think in general all the classifications are limiting. It can really affect the longevity of your career as a musician, if that genre dies... but I guess if people want to call it 'dreamy,' well, fine, that's true enough."

Nadler's latest record, her self-titled album, is full of tracks that follow those descriptions in some ways, but then again, there is something about this latest collection of songs that is entirely different--an indefinable element that somehow elevates songs like "Puppet Master" and "Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning" above the tried and true subjects of loss and heartbreak. Nadler calls this record her most honest.

"On the earlier records, I was more interested in storytelling," Nadler starts. "Then it was like I turned 30 and it felt like a decade was gone. I was looking back--and it sounds so melodramatic, but it's just very honest. All of the songs are definitely about specific people--they always were--but now it's also about being able to break down those experiences."

Nadler likens her music to her paintings (she has a background in fine art). "My aesthetic is similar in for both music and art," she said. "I've always liked really delicate things. I'd like to get back to painting portraits; it's very cathartic."

Playing her music, though, works in the same way, and part of her new tour is to share the songs she has worked so hard to create. "I do want to just be able to play the new songs for a new audience," Nadler said excitedly. "Playing music is like a personal release and satisfaction--much better than working any day job."

Marissa Nadler will be coming to the Turf Club tonight, Friday, July 22, so you can determine how her music sounds--any way you hear it, you're sure to be enchanted. Doors are at 8 p.m. $10 cover.