TVD Recommends: Alessi’s Ark at Bella Cafe, 6/11

Last Fall we spent a week here at TVD with our friends at Yep Roc Records and in doing so, introduced you to Londoner Alessi Laurent-Marke, she of Alessi’s Ark. On Saturday, Alessi will introduce herself in person when she plays DC for the very first time at the U Street Corridor’s Bella Cafe.

Thus, a rerun of our aforementioned feature seems in order and we’ve got a brand new track for you to preview prior to your attendance on Saturday, right?

The musical avatar of Alessi Laurent-Marke, Alessi’s Ark might begun as homework but the 20 year old’s quirky, blade-sharp folk pop is mature far beyond her years. Required to play an instrument in school, Laurent-Marke took up the drums at age 11 and by her 17th birthday she had quit school to focus on music, become a Myspace sensation and signed with Virgin Records. Her debut album Notes from the Treehouse was produced by Bright Eyes/Monsters of Folk member and Rilo Kiley producer Mike Mogis, and was released on Virgin in 2009. Alessi reaped word-of-mouth support and acclaim, touring relentlessly and receiving plaudits for some stand out appearances at South by Southwest in Texas. Following parting ways with Virgin, Alessi signed with UK indie label Bella Union in 2010. Her new EP Soul Proprietor signals a new beginning for an already unusually experienced young artist.

“I’m afraid I missed the vinyl boat growing up. Cassettes, CD,s and listening to the chart show on the radio every Sunday night are what I remember best.

When I started secondary school I picked up playing the drums and joined the school bands. Discovering live music and being excited by it, I started a zine inspired and encouraged by my family’s love of music.

A special memory I hold close is of the afternoon my parents dug out old records from a cupboard under the stairs and showed us (patiently) how to lay the needle down carefully on their record player.

Alessi’s Ark | On The Plains

Seeing their hands handle records with such ease was lovely. I could imagine them playing these very same records in their bedrooms and it was such a warm feeling.

With shaky hands I persevered and eventually felt more comfortable choosing tracks and setting up the songs to play. Every detail is so special. Even slipping out vinyls from their sleeves and being able to read album credits and see the artwork on a bigger scale in the big booklets got me excited. CD booklets are minute in comparison!

Together, we got through a big stack of their favourites but the discoveries that really stuck with were ‘On My Mind’ by the Marine Girls (chosen by Dad) and ‘Trouble’ by Lindsey Buckingham (chosen by Mum.)

Parents know the good stuff!!

Though still more comfortable handling CDs and cassettes, I look forwards to sharing favourite albums with friends and family in the future, sat on the floor around the player with albums stacked around us – a picnic of sounds.”

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