Carmen Villain: Sleeper

ap130318sleeper_cover.jpgCarmen Villain is the stage moniker chosen by Carmen Hillestad, selected with the intention to distance herself from her background as a fashion model... I guess for those people who may be skeptical about a former-covergirl-turned-musician (or anyone who may have heard albums by Milla Jovovich or Naomi Campbell). But it should take no more than 3 songs into Sleeper - an undeniably seductive and intoxicating debut -- for any such suspicions to be washed away in a wave of reverb and dreamy melody.  

Here Carmen Villain hooked up with Emil Nikolaisen from Sareena-Maneesh, a band with the common denominator of dark atmospherics and dissonant guitars, with Villain playing most of the instruments herself. The album drones, clangs and pulses with a sensual tension that is palpable, while Villain alternately exhudes Jennifer Herrema's strung out sex appeal, Kim Gordon's icy come hither and Hope Sandoval's kittenish purr. "Lifeissin", one of the album's highlights, even recalls the bewitching, sing-song delivery of Exile-era Liz Phair. In short, Carmen Villain's Sleeper is a stunner and we can all be thankful she quit her day job. 

 -Dan Wilcox