1 Mar 2021
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Nina McSweeney

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“A ghostly hybrid of delta blues, bluegrass and alternative folk, Nina McSweeney’s debut album ‘The Bitter Sea’ effortlessly soars and grinds through the nine beautifully-crafted tracks… When McSweeney does dive head-first into the venerable history of the blues she still manages to create something authentic and original sounding…Throughout the album, she manages to never overplay her hand, showing a restrained and tasteful songwriting style that leaves the listener wanting to start the whole album over again as soon as it finishes.” - NZ Musician Magazine

Vengeful Japanese spirits met by the river like a lover, a compulsion crawling beneath the skin like an insect, and the downward pull of the ocean’s welcomed embrace. Welcome to ethereal world of Auckland songstress Nina McSweeney, and the haunting beauty of her debut album 'The Bitter Sea'

Nina McSweeney, who is best known for her collaborations with popular drum & bass artist Concord Dawn (most notably on the track 'Easy Life' and again on 'The River' from the NZ Music Award winning album 'Air Chrysalis') is a prolific and multi faceted artist. She has performed as both a vocalist and blues harmonica player on stages local and international, including the Monterey Jazz festival, Homegrown and Rhythm & Vines festivals and has opened for the likes of the Black Crowes, Silverchair and Powderfinger. She currently shocks and astounds as half of the electric dirty delta blues duo Bat Country.

'The Bitter Sea' was co-produced by McSweeney and Brendon Kahi and recorded at the Lab by Olly Harmer over a period of 4 days, on a budget less than a White Stripes album. In a genre which could only be described as “Creep Folk”, this collection of songs and stories have a cinematic air of intrigue about them. Drawing inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and his portrayal of “a woman lost in a fog”, these songs take some dark and unexpected twists and turns, with compelling melodies leading the listener through waves of string section improvisation and rhythms which stagger like some crazed Harryhausen stop motion creation.

In keeping with her strongly self directed DIY aesthetic and vision, Nina conceptualized her own photo shoot and set design, laboriously crafting hundreds of intricate paper flowers by hand. The delicate and many layered paper cut illustrations that make up the artwork on the soon-to-be-released album were created by local artist Erica Lack.

'The Bitter Sea' is due for release at the start of 2013, with the first single, 'Lost in Translation' out late August.

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