Amanda Palmer is a musician under many names. Forming parts of The Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra and of course, her own solo work, her talented has manifested itself in many ways since her career began in the early 2000s. She is, above all, a performer, who lives and breathes her craft. Her music is among some of the most unique in the music industry, and her advocacy for DIY musicianship is nothing short of inspiring. You should be listening to Amanda Palmer for songs that capture the depth and complexity of human emotion from an incomparably authentic musician.
We first heard Palmer’s voice as the lead singer of The Dresden Dolls, her duo with drummer Brian Viglione, an outfit which gained a quick cult following from their self-titled debut. It was these record that spearheaded the rise of the dark cabaret genre, taking all of the best elements from heavy punk, decadent burlesque and 1970s goth rock, culminating in the unique stylings of The Dresden Dolls. From their earliest songs, this band was a force to be reckoned with; ‘Girl Anachronism’ was an angry ode to chaos and feeling out of place, a perfect showcase of Palmer’s lyrical candor. The toy-piano-driven ‘Coin Operated Boy’ is a complicated meeting of fun and solitude, with a sound from another time and lyrics that can be all too real. The Dresden Dolls capture all the highs and lows of human experience, and their discography is unparalleled to this day.
Another highlight of Amanda Palmer’s musical career was her conceptual collaboration with Jason Webley as Evelyn Evelyn. Their sole, self-titled album is an experimental and exciting combination of song and storytelling, a tragedy told from the perspective of the titular conjoined twins. Musically, it’s a baroque-pop album that could be the soundtrack to a nightmarish circus; narratively, it’s a mashup of AHS Freakshow and A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you listen closely, you’ll hear vocal contributions from a whole host of artists, from Gerard Way to Tegan and Sara. Evelyn Evelyn take root in your mind with their catchy darkness and their album is a hidden gem that is not to be missed.
Of course, you cannot fail to mention Amanda Palmers incredible solo work which has remained a constant throughout her side projects. Her solo debut, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? was released in 2008 and has been followed by a number of albums, up to her latest, 2019’s There Will Be No Intermission. Alongside these solo works, Palmer has embarked on a number of heavy tours where she visits all the corners of the world, bringing her legendary stage presence and energy to crowds all over the globe. Her songs are brutally honest works which demonstrate her unique creativity and ability to resonate with fans like no other artist.
You may have also heard Palmer’s iconic TED Talk, ‘The Art of Asking’ (and if you haven’t, I would strongly recommend taking 15 minutes out of your day for seriously empowering creative inspiration). In this, talk she details how asking her fans and supporters for help has driven her career and allowed to connect with fans all over the world – and how other artists can do the same thing. It’s true to the spirit and ethos of DIY punk and proves as hard evidence for her innate authenticity as a musician.
Amanda Palmer is a perfect recommendation for any music lover, a true treasure of the alternative music community. Take any of her projects, and you’ll discover your new favourite artist. You should be listening to Amanda Palmer for some of the most painfully honest music on your playlist, and to connect with a true musician through the power of music.
Listen to Amanda Palmer’s latest album, There Will Be No Intermission via Cooking Vinyl.