Some bands sound exactly like their name, others seem to live up to their artwork perfectly, but Loene Carmen is perhaps the first artist I’ve seen who sounds just like her merchandise stand. Rather than the standard black T-shirts and albums sitting on a table, her temporary shop consists of an antique suitcase packed with vintage knickers and small bottles of “genuine cheap French vodka”. It’s a perfect encapsulation of her gauzy, tear-soaked blues noir. Tonight’s set begins with the scuzzy rock & attitude of ‘My Friends Call Me Foxy’, a killer single, but not the best showcase for her intoxicating voice.
There’s plenty of time for that though – ‘Nashville High’ in particular is a shimmering wonder. Deliciously dark, sexy and dead cool, it’s exactly the kind of thing that has seen her earn admiring nods from a who’s who of Australian underground rock icons. Her band includes Jed Kurzel of The Mess Hall and Holy Soul’s Sam Worrad, but her smoky vocals alone are more than enough to entertain everyone from the middle-aged record collector types to the ballroom-dancing teenagers down the front. There’s an encore of course, with the great ‘The Bee’ featuring. Then, sadly, it’s over, but those small flasks of official Loene Carmen vodka, each guaranteed to contain a tear of joy, look mighty inviting.
Originally appeared in: Mess and Noise