Cellars Phases on LP
Cellar door. Considered possibly the most beautiful phrase in the English language. Edgar Allen Poe's favorite phrase. Thematically, it signals a gateway to another, often magical world. Also: a pivotal discussion point in Donnie Darko. It was the latter that inspired Alle Norton to name her nascent musical project Cellars. "It has a dark connotation. I can relate to that," she says. "Maybe it comes from the cellars of my shitty love life."
For Norton, Cellars serves as both an emotional and musical gateway. Her new album Phases is awash in swooshing synths and digital beats. It's warm, it's pop, it's glittery, and – most importantly – it's honest. It's early digital pop with a modern sensibility, heavily influenced by the 80s...a decade Norton, ironically, never experienced first-hand. "I attribute my ‘80s passion to my dad," she says. "I grew up listening to Squeeze, The Tubes and Oingo Boingo. He was a child of that era, and I think just absorbed his tastes. Also: I may not have been born in the ‘80s, but I was conceived in the decade."
After releasing her first album Lovesick – a virtual one-woman production – Norton met her musical idol Ariel Pink, a do-it-yourself, lo-fi maverick in his own right. With initial tracks conceived at Norton's house, the songs on Phases truly came alive in the studio, with producer Pink adding in new layers, alternating song structures and even inviting a few guests long, including Benjamin Jared Miller from HEALTH, funk superstar Damon "Dam-Funk" Riddick and Tendai "Baba" Maraire of Shabazz Palaces.
Lyrically, Phases serves as individual snapshots of Norton's life since she moved to L.A. First single "Nighttime Girl" explores the singer's life early on in the big city. Musically, it's a diverse record: "Do You Miss Me?" is a love song that evokes The Cure, while "Still in Love" conjure up images of the Material Girl herself. And as Norton notes, "Nervous" takes it funky robotic cues from Blondie's "Rapture."