Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins

PlugInMusic.com is giving away autographed copies of Nicole Atkins' "Neptune City" on vinyl to two lucky fans! Enter now for your chance to win!

Nicole was that kid slightly out of touch. When her friends were collecting the latest New Kids on the Block album, she was raving about Traffic or Cream. At the age of 13 she found an old beat up guitar in the attic of her house. It had belonged to an uncle who died when he was young, and she taught herself to play a Grateful Dead song. Her father turned her on to blues artists like Jimmy Reed, and allowed Nicole to sit in on sessions with local musician friends. And then she left that town, that place, behind, attending art school in North Carolina, where she played for three years with the North Carolina alt-country band Los Parasols before making a name for herself as a solo performer on New York Cityís anti-folk scene. She slept in an old Dodge Ram Charger on Avenue A, finally, with a little help from her friends, among them David Muller (occasionally a member of Yoko Onoís band, Fiery Furnaces and Fischer Spooner) finally discovered her own sound.

And itís that sound that washes over Neptune City, produced by Tore Johansson (Cardigans, Franz Ferdinand, OK Go, Saint Etienne, New Order), an album that sounds like it came from anywhere but the New Jersey Americana rock tradition made famous by Bruce Springsteen. Her music ranges far afield: at some times vaudevillian, at others psychedelic, a little bit country, a dash from early musicals, all under a cloud of pop-noir, often all coming in the very same song. Atkins writes songs that could have come from an episode of Six Feet Under, or an updating of Grease, as directed by David Lynch.

In the end, Neptune City comes across as a restoration project in a way, an attempt to build something new on something old. Thereís an acute subtlety to the art of restoration. Do it wrong and youíre simply cribbing the past. Do it right and youíre actually, in a profound way, carrying it forward into today. And thatís what Neptune City accomplishes. It brings its past with it, carries its heart on its sleeve, and strides hopefully into a better day it can hardly imagine, but hopes will be there nonetheless.

Feb 20 2008 8:00P Blind Pig Ann Arbor, Michigan
Feb 21 2008 8:00P Subterranean Chicago
Feb 22 2008 9:00P Cactus Club Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Feb 23 2008 9:00P Cafe Montmarte Madison, Wisconsin
Feb 25 2008 8:00P 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, Minnesota
Feb 29 2008 8:00P Doug Fir Lounge Portland, Oregon
Mar 1 2008 6:30P The Triple Door Seattle, Washington
Mar 3 2008 7:30P The Independent San Francisco, California
Mar 5 2008 8:30P Brick by Brick San Diego, California
Mar 6 2008 8:00P The Troubadour West Hollywood, California
Mar 9 2008 7:00P House of Blues Dallas, Texas
Mar 10 2008 8:00P The Mink Houston, Texas
Mar 17 2008 8:00P Bottle Tree Birmingham, Alabama
Mar 18 2008 8:00P Earl Atlanta, Georgia
Mar 20 2008 8:00P Snugs Harbor Charlotte, North Carolina
Mar 21 2008 8:00P Snugs Harbor Charlotte, North Carolina
Mar 22 2008 8:00P Local 506 Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Mar 24 2008 8:00P Rock and Roll Hotel Washington DC, Washington DC
Mar 25 2008 7:00P World Cafe Live! Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Congratulations to the winners, Thelma Garcia and Kerry Boone!