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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: Lisa Jaeggi - Demo(nstration)

Lisa Jaeggi – Demo(nstration)
2008, Lisa Jaeggi

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Lisa Jaeggi describes her style of music as skateboard acoustic soul. The daughter of Swiss and Japanese parents grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and attended Guilford College in North Carolina on her way to New York City. In spite of referring to Justin Timberlake as a genius in her media bio we still think she’s pretty cool and talented. Jaeggi’s CD Demo(nstration) is self produced and very compelling. Let’s check it out.

Jaeggi draws from disparate influences including Lauryn Hill, Citizen Cope, Jack Johnson, Sam Cook and Bob Marley; it’s fair to say that you should leave your expectations at the door. Jaeggi marches to her own drummer and you’re better off just trying to keep up with her rather than getting bogged down in pre-conceived notions. Jaeggi opens with Oh Lady You Shot Me!; a gritty folk-pop song reminiscent of Fiona Apple. Up next is You Can’t Spell Believe Without Lie, a lyrical wonder supported by just Jaeggi on guitar. Empirical Science is performed in a talk-sing style similar to that practiced by Nellie McKay but with a darker depth. Men-Like Gods is a compact and catchy song that would greatly benefit from additional instrumentation. The recording offered here is great for a demo, but this song begs for a fuller sound.

Vendetta is a bit of acoustic hip hop that wants desperately to be a big time Rock N Roll anthem. This may the breakout song that Jaeggi needs. With a good band behind her this could become a monster. The CD also includes Tell His Mother, Somebody Else and The Bard, all of which are fine compositions but perhaps not as dynamic as the rest.

Lisa Jaeggi is lyrically brilliant, mining every day topics like a true story teller. Jaeggi finds that nugget in a topic that either you didn’t think it, or finds a different light to shed on it than you might have considered. Vocally she exudes a strong, warm voice that stands up to anything you’ll hear on the radio. The musical arrangements on Demo(nstration) are spare, with Jaeggi providing guitar or keys are need. The base arrangements are excellent, but some of the material here would definitely benefit from the fuller arrangements a band could provide. Pay attention to Lisa Jaeggi, you’ll be hearing from her again. Talent like this doesn’t stay hidden for long.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Lisa Jaeggi at Perhaps you can talk her into selling you a copy of her CD, Demo(nstration). It’s worth having.

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