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Something About Violins

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Album Review

Julie Sokolow recorded Something About Violins in her apartment with nothing but an old guitar, a keyboard, and the built-in microphone on her iBook, and naturally it sounds like a homemade affair. But the muddiness isn't a huge distraction for the most part, and more than anything it tends to give the songs a little sonic depth. The chunk-a-chunk chords are warm and strange, and Sokolow embellishes the songs with a good helping of messy, ringing keyboards and electronic distortion. It's impossible to avoid likening her to Chan Marshall; her voice is similarly gritty and dark, and her songs indulge in the same kind of brooding, confessional subject matter. If this album is flawed, it's probably due to Sokolow's relative inexperience. Her musical vocabulary is at times limited; the choppy chord progressions listeners are introduced to on "Seasons," for instance, get a bit tiresome by the time "Pictures" rolls around. But this album is worth a listen in spite of that. "Expanse's Net," for example, is one of those weird, iridescent Sokolow songs where everything goes right; it has some strange and memorable piano licks, and the vocals are lovely, yet harsh. This is cold, luminous, promising material, and it'll be interesting to see how she follows it up.


Born: 1987 in Holmdale, NJ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Armed with nothing but a guitar, an Apple G4 laptop, and a brittle alto that bore a striking similarity to Chan Marshall's, Pittsburgh musician Julie Sokolow recorded and produced her first full-length release all on her own. That album, Something...
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Something About Violins, Julie Sokolow
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