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Thalia Zedek
Born 1961, Washington, D.C., United States
Genres Indie rock
Years active 1980–present
Labels Kimchee Records, Matador Records, Thrill Jockey
Associated acts Dangerous Birds, Uzi, Live Skull, Come

Thalia Zedek (born 1961) is an American singer and guitarist.

Contents

Biography

Zedek grew up in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. She attended Springbrook High School in Maryland, where she played clarinet in the marching band under band director Charles Sickafus. The early punk era of the late 1970s in which she came of age, and in particular Patti Smith, contributed deeply to the formation of her musical aesthetic. While still at high school, she would travel to New York with her brother, Dan Zedek (currently the editorial design director at the Boston Globe), to see Smith perform.

Zedek moved to Boston in 1979, attending Boston University for one semester before deciding to pursue a musical career instead. Her first band, the all-female White Women, broke up after a couple of years, and she formed the Dangerous Birds. This group had somewhat more success, including a single, "Smile on Your Face/Alpha Romeo", which achieved airplay on college and alternative-commercial radio; but Zedek wanted a more "violent" sound in contrast to the somewhat "girlie pop" tendencies of her Dangerous Birds bandmates. Her next project, Uzi, worked towards this aim, producing an EP, "Sleep Asylum". The EP was characterized by elusive yet subtly menacing lyrics superimposed upon lugubrious but driving instrumental tracks, featuring layers of dense, murky yet muscular guitar arrangements, blended with heady synthesizer and tape effects. However, despite the promise of "Sleep Asylum", Uzi dissolved, owing to tension between Zedek and the band's drummer, Danny Lee.

She next took the role of primary vocalist for New York City's Live Skull, a band already well established. While the album "Dusted," the first product of this collaboration, reflected an intense synergy between Zedek's vocal style and the complexly histrionic instrumental work of Live Skull, the follow-up "Positraction" floundered, and Live Skull also disbanded, due to conflicts, in 1990. By that time, Zedek had also run into problems regarding heroin addiction. Motivated to quit, she returned to Boston and the support of her friends. She soon co-founded Come, with former Codeine drummer Chris Brokaw. It was with them that she had her biggest successes, releasing four albums before the group disbanded in 2001. In that same year, she also released Been Here And Gone, her first solo project. Since then she has released two other full-length albums and several EPs.

Zedek was also a participant in the 1998 Suffragette Sessions tour, organized by the Indigo Girls. In 2006, she performed at North East Sticks Together.

In spite of limited commercial success, Zedek has been highly acclaimed by music critics throughout her career, and has arguably been deeply influential within the indie-rock realm, particularly through her influence within the prolific Boston indie scene, which has spawned many noteworthy artists. She is an "out-and-proud lesbian".[1]

Discography

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Albums

  • Been Here And Gone, Matador, July 31, 2001
  • Hell is in Hello, Return To Sender, August 2, 2004 (limited edition 2.000 copies)
  • Trust Not Those in Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness, Thrill Jockey, September 14, 2004
  • Liars and Prayers, Thrill Jockey, April 22, 2008

EPs

  • You're a Big Girl Now, Acuarela & Kimchee Records CD only joint release, 2002
  • The Nature of Drones, 2005. This 7-song, 35-minute CD-R EP was home-recorded and self-released exclusively for the July 2005 Australian tour (remaining copies available through Thrill Jockey Mail Order only). It contains 4 new songs, 1 cover (House of the Rising Sun) and 2 reworkings of some classic cuts (Evil Hand, JJ85).

Live

  • Live at Tonic, NYC 1/16/2000, 2000

External links

References

  1. ^ "Down dark alleys with Thalia Zedek", Metro.co.uk, Adam Workman, October 6, 2008

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