Poetic Memory: Emily Long (List)

MP3: Emily Long – “Dirty Face”

If it were 1995, Emily Long would be huge.

That’s not a backhanded compliment, either. Listening to the Tucson native’s second album, Dirty Face, transports you to a time when flannel was worn un-ironically, the Empire Records soundtrack was wearing out your CD player, and MTV played videos instead of bottom-feeding reality show tripe.

From the opening moments of Dirty Face, you can hear the influence of bands like Veruca Salt and Letters to Cleo in the forceful but delicate vocals, fuzzed out guitars, and flogged drums. Long’s voice may conjure women like Nina Gordon, Louise Post, and Kay Hanley, but there’s also a bit of Tegan and Sara in the way she projects ripples of vulnerability into her rock-star belting.

It’s a compelling combination, and repeat listens makes Long’s music even more rewarding. The ass-kicking musician was kind enough to share some of the things that make her tick, which you can find below, along with a behind-the-scenes video on the making of Dirty Face.


Freddie Mercury: No one can dispute that his voice is iconic, but what I loved the most is that at the end of the day Queen was a real rock band. Without all the bells and whistles of production, the five of them up on stage held up to the magic of their records.

The end of an era: When chapters of your life come to a close, good or bad, you have the experiences to reflect on and that’s when the ideas for songs are born.

Jonathan Lethem: He uses language in a way you’ve never heard before. It’s visceral, sexual and always hits home.

The Shangri-Las: I just like girls getting nasty.

French kissing: see above.



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