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New Album from Alum Stephanie Nilles

Last year we featured From the Top alum and pianist Stephanie Nilles as part of our 10th Anniversary Series.

Stephanie on From the Top, 2009

These days, Stephanie is based in New Orleans and has continued her musical shift away from the classical and towards jazz and punk. She recently released her fourth album, F*** Off Grizzly Bear (WARNING: adult language at external link), which has climbed to the top of Pitchfork’s Album Title of the Year year-end list.

The album is live on NoiseTrade.com (adult language), where you can preview tracks for free, leave Stephanie a monetary “tip,” or download the whole thing.

Here are a couple of highlights from a review of the album:

Nilles and her upright bassist, Matt Wigton, took a loose DIY approach to the album, recording in Nilles’s childhood home…The duo recorded 3 hours worth of material over one weekend, and originally planned to release 7 separate e.p.’s, but a last-minute decision to “go green” halted the duplication of the project in its tracks.

Nilles opted to record the entire album directly to a vintage Fisher Price cassette recorder, employing sound engineer Mike Judeh to use only its built-in microphone. After wrestling with the tape machine placement “for hours,” Judeh decided to surgically implant the recorder inside Wigton’s upright bass (resulting in a broken G string that had to be replaced with a bit of fishing line), illuminating a resonance and warmth lacking in today’s mainstream recording industry.

Nilles’ fourth record is a solid and inspired effort.