Ali Wesley
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Ali Wesley

Band Pop Folk

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"Willamette Week's Local Cut"

Let me start off by saying that I’m not a huge fan of girl-with-guitar type stuff, but Ali Wesley is a freaking angel. She must be. I mean, have you heard her voice? Well, if you listen to NPR’s “All Songs Considered” or attend Live Wire! or if you saw this video–basically, if you’ve ever heard Super XX Man’s “Collecting Rocks”–then you’ve heard Ali Wesley. She (or her voice, at least) plays the female role in “Collecting Rocks,” Super XX Man’s lovely, somewhat cautionary tale of lifelong romance. And that voice, my friends, is the definition of angelic. Wesley’s now employing that wonderment of vocality to her own songs, and the result is often stunning. “The World I Adore”–one of the strongest tracks on her upcoming debut, All Things (My Two Fish)–is, according to her a MySpace, a plea for the common knowledge we often take for granted (or, at least that’s what I took from Wesley’s blog about her songs’ meanings). Besides the simple, positive message, though, “The World I Adore” is just plain pretty. Over crisp acoustic guitar, Wesley sings in her clear, affecting way, “I need help from the world/ I need help from the world I adore.” It’s not at all cheesy, and the breathy high note she hits on the second to last refrain of the chorus is downright precious (in a good way). Perhaps most impressive, though, is the way Wesley always makes angelic sound so damn easy. - Willamette Week - Amy McCullough


"Mercury Review"

While her earliest material was stark and suited for the waning hours of an open mic coffeehouse session, Alison Wesley's excellent new album, All Things (My Two Fish), glistens with the playful pop sheen of a youthful Regina Spektor. Her lively songs and innocent voice, especially on the drum machine-backed "Blah Blah," propel her far beyond the rigid world of solo singer/songwriters. Her record is out today, so line Wesley's pockets with some cash, as it's the best purchase you'll make in a while. - Portland Mercury - Ezra Ace Caraeff


"Album Review"

Ali Wesley has the voice of an angel. It's simple, pure, elegant. And her debut full-length, All Things (My Two Fish), would have you believe she's got the disposition of one, too. From the opening track, she sings darling folk-pop ballads about love, love, love. But that's only if you scratch the surface; amid all that mushiness lie stories of regret, imperfection, uneasiness and (gasp!) sex. But the purely lovey material—some of the tracks are truly wholesome—is quite good in its own right. "And" describes how it feels to have a guardian angel over simple, brushed drums and acoustic guitar: "I accelerate through all the lights/ And I'm not scared." It's undeniably sappy, but Wesley's conviction—and her knack for infectious melodies—make it more charming than cloying. Likewise, "Blah Blah," though rooted in a potentially nauseating concept (that it's taboo to say "I love you" in a song), comes off clever. It starts with a drum-machine beat reminiscent of Ben Gibbard's early, lo-fi work as All-American Quarterback, which Wesley beefs up with a backdrop of synthesized organ, acoustic guitar and dainty, staccato backing vocals. Again, the whole thing is very sweet, but her explanations ("This language we've got has its pros and it cons/ And it's too bad there's only one way") make you smile more than cringe. Wesley's good-girl facade is spoiled completely—thankfully—about two-thirds of the way through, though, by the darkly sensual "Love at You." Over minor, picked guitar, Wesley (who also plays drums and sings in local folk-pop band Super XX Man) says, "I hike up my skirt/ I have no pride." Later in the same song, she uses her divine voice to describe tying someone to a garden post to make sure they "stay." And "That Bridge," with its creepy cadence and sinister refrain of "You'll die on that bridge," adds a welcome dose of poison to Wesley's honey. Earlier in the album during a shout-out (in title only) to Nico, Wesley even claims, "I was your creamiest dream" and outlines a guilt complex on the vaguely bluesy "Chelsea Girl." But, even when Wesley's lyrics betray her angelic voice, she still sings of love above all else. And Wesley seems to believe that love's a tangible thing: As she croons on "And," "You love me/ And I can hold that in my hands"—spoken like a true angel. - Willamette Week - Amy McCullough


"Tribune Write-Up"

Sweet-voiced songstress Ali Wesley manages to pull off the improbable on her debut album, “All Things (My Two Fish),” delivering a record that’s sweet and fragile and gritty all at the same time.

Wesley’s voice and the delicate, stripped-down arrangements draw you in like a sleeping puppy in a pet store window, but her words can sting as well as soothe.

In her musical world, crushing loss, ecstatic joy and the complexity of everyday living all are exquisitely beautiful things. - Portland Tribune - Barbara Mitchell


"Show Review"

Wesley wears her long blond hair loose, accented by bright cherry-red-framed glasses, a baby doll red shirt over jeans and red-toed shoes. Her first number is a “sad song”—a small dancer pulled from the stage by a parent seems to punctuate that announcement with tears of frustration. Wesley’s banter with the audience gives a sense of her playfulness and humor as fellow songstress Crystin Byrd joins her for a duet: their voices blend nicely. Wesley’s vocals are sweet, slightly overshadowed by the crowd, the small-room acoustics, and, quite possibly, feedback from the mic. She has moments of pure passion as she sings “I just can’t seem to leave you”; her sense of humor is evident as she connects with the audience again to admit she’s about to play a new song, in fact “just wrote this last week,” and that she may have committed a faux pas by using her own name in the song. But what the heck, she wrote it. Another line sticks out to locals as being pure Portland: “Torched your bridges in a town of rivers.” Wesley’s guitar accompaniment is skillful and harmonic, but the real fun comes at the end of her set: Wesley, perching her bright pink (vintage Barbie???) keyboard on a chair, kneels before it and hammers out a punky little tune -- keyboard and tambourine players join in -- to sing the Blah Blah song. "You know the chorus 'Blah, Blah, Blah…'" The small dancer joined her once again to finish out the set. - mel.opho.be - Ellen Lodine


Discography

All Things (My Two Fish) - full length album released on CD Baby, iTunes, MySpace - distributed by Burnside Distribution.
"World I Adore" featured on Local Cut - Willamette Week.

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Bio

Ali Wesley's music communicates the struggles of loss as well as the fever of love. Recording her debut album began in the fall of 2006, after Ali Wesley had just experienced both the traumatic loss of a loved one and the passionate beginnings of a new life.

In producing this album, the goal was to create a collection of songs which revealed this particular time period of life. The lyrics are delivered as if from a secret journal entry, quietly examining the conflict that comes along with such restlessness.

Ali Wesley combines the darling honesty of Regina Spektor, the fragility of Mazzy Star and crisp vocals soaring above acoustic guitar and delicately placed harmonies.

In addition to her solo project, she currently provides harmonies for such Portland artists as Super XX Man, Shoeshine Blue, John Vecchiarelli and Jack Elder.