San Francisco cellist, singer-songer writer and performer, Unwoman, has proven to be a long standing staple of the steampunk music movement. Having performed at a variety of festivals, events and conventions, and having found solidly consistent airtime on any number of DJ playlists, she’s made a name for herself as being both progressive and anachronistic.
With her newest endeavor, Uncovered (Volume One), released just this September, the prolific song writer ventures into a territory that few, if any, sepia-tuned performers choose to traverse. Namely that of the cover, and we’re not talking covers of Victorian love songs, pirate drinking ballads, Roma favorites, klezmer staples or hot jazz hits, this is much more contemporary stuff. We’re talking 80’s (and a bit of early 90s) here.
And it works. I’m particularly fond of her cover of Real Life’s “Send Me an Angel”, as it remains explicitly genuine to the original track while imparting both modern energetic electronic sensibility and a whimsically clever string production. I also found myself attracted to her cover of Shannon’s “The The Music Play” which takes the diva-esque song in a much moodier direction and her both uplifting yet brooding cover of Nine Inch Nails seminal “Hurt”.
On her website she tells that these songs were ones she connected to as a youth, and it shows, as she is honest through and through with the material, but doesn’t seem to fear adding her own sound and style. It should also be noted that this effort was a fan funded affair which is something that’s always neat to see.
There are moments that those of an ardently anachronistic bent may not find to his or her liking. There is a lot of vocal filtering, especially on the cover of Madonna’s “Open Your Heart”, the cover of which could easily pass as an electroclash anthem from 2001. But for someone with a diverse pallet in music though, this is far more refreshing than frustrating and I applaud her willingness to go in such directions.
You can purchase the digital album, physical CD or a limited edition “Tiny Golden USB (with CD)” on her Bandcamp website.
You can also see Unwoman live at Tesla-Con in Madison, Wisconsin this November!