Lo Carmen
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Lo Carmen

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

May
06
Lo Carmen @ C'est What

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May
06
Lo Carmen @ Supermarket

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mar
19
Lo Carmen @ B.D. Riley's

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


"Hear This - Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) by Lo Carmen"

A dreamy new album from chanteuse Lo Carmen.
I could live inside the atmospheric Valium of this album, forever listening to Lo Carmen drip her honeyed vocals over meandering songs and cinematic sounds. Everyone You Know (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) fits seamlessly into the Carmen canon, a gorgeous follow-on from her EP The Peach State and an evolution of the shimmering blues of Rock’n’Roll Tears and the magnetic It Walks Like Love.
Everyone You Know (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) is mesmerising and softly melancholy. A sultry and inviting album, sporting the spangled grandness of the best lounge singers... Sparse in places, and lushly layered in others, Carmen never wavers from her own gorgeous sound... true to all of Carmen’s creations, it’s distinguished by her ability to summon a decade-defying sound and wind up in a world of her own making. - Pan Magazine


"Lo Carmen Goes Track By Track"

Dream evoking Australian singer-songwriter Loene ‘Lo’ Carmen makes music that easily allows these celluloid escapes. Her newest lo-fi wonder ‘Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) maneuvers in shadowy and palpable Lou Reed-esque honky tonk realism with so much rare and raw individuality that it takes you aback at first listen. Then your eager addiction slowly burns inside until you’ve played the album on repeat countless times and you’re lost in her personal visons laid out in tracks imagined by a true storyteller who’s looking at and translating her world with one of a kind human perspectives.
I like to imagine Andy Warhol and Gram Parsons curating an inspiring and quirky film soundtrack by Van Sant or Lars von Trier. This is how I listen to this album. - Global Texan Chronicles


"Lo Carmen - Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)"

The key word would be the 'Haunt'. Because that's what Loene Carmen does...In sometimes dream-like southern gothic landscapes, there's melancholy, longing, and loss — but an unease you're never quite getting the whole story. The mirror's reflection of I Cut My Own Hair is one of Tennessee Williams' damaged heroines, as directed by David Lynch. Those Green Eyes may "have seen everything", but you still want to look into them. Intriguing, as ever.

Ross Clelland - The Music


"Album Review: Lo Carmen Everyone You Ever Knew (is Coming Back To Haunt You)"

I first heard Lo Carmen’s music on her 2009 album It Walks Like Love and was immediately taken by her ability to weave beautiful, otherworldly sounds out of indie rock, dark psych folk and dreamy gothic country. A solo EP and a collaborative album with her father Peter Head later and Carmen has finally released a new full length album which solidifies her talent and further distils it to her core songwriting and a sympathetic musical framework.

Working with members of The Holy Soul, Mess Hall, The Cruel Sea and The Maladies, Carmen managed to record the album on a brief return visit to Sydney from her current base in the USA. It sounds like the necessity of time played a part in the sound of the album as it has a strong live and unprocessed feel. The drums are present and organic while the guitars shimmer and twang like circling spirits. Garage rock of the Velvet Underground variety is omnipresent in the jangle and raw production where every rattle and buzz is part of the mix. Of course the spotlight is on that voice of Carmen’s. It’s a curious instrument, half whispered, half cooed that brings to mind Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday’, Hope Sandoval’s (Mazzy Star) heavy lidded, hypnotic meditations and a smokey jazz chanteuse in an empty late-night bar. She pours melancholy into a dreamy, David Lynch-styled sonic world. ‘Green Eyes’ aches and yearns with a blurred yet vivid intensity, drawing you in deep. The slow-burn of ‘Travelling Man’ gives way to a comparatively rock n roll ‘Every Man’s Son’ with it’s gentle funk groove (think Lambchop and Tindersticks) and Carmen’s incantations providing the energy and direction.

Records like these tend to be slow growers. At first you might focus on Carmen’s voice and the drifting, dreamy aspect of the music but given time there are details that emerge, particularly the guitar of Sam Worrad which adds sparkle to the more soulful songs such as ‘I Cut My Own Hair’ and then, just as effectively, he buries his notes in warm and distant layers of distortion.

Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) inhabits it’s own netherworld of woozy, ghostly musicality; the perfect setting for Carmen’s voice and songs. She adds soul to slowcore and mystery to melancholy and the result is an album that will draw you in deeper and deeper with each listen as you fall under her atmospheric spell.

Chris Familton - Post To Wire


"Lo Carmen - Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)"

Carmen is lovely to listen to...Ethereal and magical, childish and haunting, Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) gives life to stories that may not otherwise exist. - Alt Media


"Lo Carmen - Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)"

...another mesmerising collection of songs bathed in shimmering melancholy. Carmen’s music, via that woozy, soulful, honeyed hush of a voice, is like a entering a dream state from a David Lynch film, dripping with sadcore noir and romantic drama. ...Like Velvet Undergound jamming with Mazzy Star in a Nashville honky tonk after closing time. - Post To Wire


"Lo Carmen & Peter Head - The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree"

Surprisingly this is the first collaborative album from Lo Carmen and her pianist father Peter Head and hopefully it won’t be the last, such is its endearing mix of country soul and late night jazz... Head’s elegant and melodious playing and Carmen’s playful purr of a voice that draws you deep into the songs... an album high on smoky atmosphere and the ghosts of many a raised glass. - The Music


"The Peach State EP"

... stark country-soul and shimmering blues – dripping with emotion, heartache, buzzing strings and Carmen’s husky swoon of a voice... a direct line to the heart that showcases her glorious voice ...that wonderful mix of tough and sultry that all the best blues and country singers possess. - No Depression


"The Peach State EP"

The opening line of the title track is a smoke signal, flagging Carmen’s talent for evocations of place; both geographical and emotional. ..The spareness of the sound has an authenticity, sincerity and purity of purpose that harks back to the likes of Woody Guthrie. This is folk music. Or country, real country ... With characteristic grace and eloquence, LC reaches the parts other songwriters can’t touch.... I put her on the same pedestal as Kris Kristofferson, Tom T., or Merle Haggard. - Something You Said


"It Walks Like Love"

... Carmen’s voice saunters all silk and smoke, a brazen beacon of breathy blues shining out from a murky late night dive, but here it also gets to frolic about in some more fertile fields of pop such as ridiculously catchy single Mimic the Rain. ..a magnetically absorbing album. - Faster Louder


"It Walks Like Love"

Loene Carmen is not just an actress, not just a singer or musician, but a true artist who has crossed many boundaries to bring her audience the beautiful artwork she has to share. Her most recent effort, It Walks Like Love is the perfect example of just what Loene does so gracefully well. With the help of Sam Pearton, Brock Fitzgerald (the Scare) and Sam Worrad (Holy Soul), Loene paints perfectly flawed pictures for her listeners within the ten tracks.
The album opens with the slow and lamenting ‘Rugged Love and Thin Air’, a song you can imagine rolling out across a smoke-filled club, a story being told by the chanteuse in a dimly-lit corner while cigarettes are smoked and scotches are thrown back haphazardly. ‘Oh Apollo!’ is the almost-pop song duet between Carmen and the Mess Hall’s Jed Kurzel, the pairs tanned vocals working together to give the tune a love –struck feel.
The first single from the album is ‘Mimic the Rain’, wirery metallic guitar riff and steady drumbeat marching in unison to keep Loene’s husky vocals travelling along. It’s hypnotically repetitive until all instruments wig-out on some psychedelic tantrum, before being brought back down to march onward. ‘Gauloises Blue’ captures the same rolling blues appeal as the opening track, but with the addition of an undulating piano melody the song is given a feeling of heartbreak.
‘Another Man’ begins with a dirty and distorted echoing crackle like heavy rain and a sharp beat made by what sounds like hands clapping, the whole atmosphere sounding primitive and wild. Though following, and contrasting, is ‘Devil’s Lullabye’, again the piano working along with Carmen’s vocals to tell a country story of woe and despair.
Just like the end of the week, closing the album is ‘Sunday Night’, a song with Loene on her lonesome joined only by a drawling guitar. It is a gentle way to send the listener off into the night, with Loene’s own bluesy memories running around your head. - The Au Review


"Rock N Roll Tears"

Loene Carmen seems to attract a lot of .. empty adjectives—probably cause most of these ‘writers’ can’t quite figure out how a womanly woman with a sad & sexy voice can also sound like she could beat a thousand rock ’n’ roll dudes and pimply faced reviewers in an arm-wrestle. So what do they do? Put her on a pedestal and call her “heavenly voiced”. Dudes: Jesus was a man, Loene Carmen is a woman and this album is just great.' VICE 8/10 - VICE


"It Walks Like Love"

Loene Carmen’s music has always carried a certain personal intimacy about it, whether it was the lo-fi dreams of “Slight Delay” or soft chaos in her previous record “Rock n’ Roll Tears”. Regardless of the recordings in question, Carmen always manages to convince you that she could be your girlfriend – whispering her darkest and brightest secrets right into your ear.

Its late afternoon and her head is leaning on your shoulder with your one arm driving across the desert plains. This is the day you finally propose to her, you pull into the closest Motel 6 and bend down on one knee outside the neon light flashing “No Vacancy”. Why do you do this? – Because for her fourth record “It Walks Like Love” what she was whispering into your ear on that car ride are the best things she’s ever said. Picture this scene. Track one opens with dreamy country tremolo inside a quiet bar on the outskirts of the city. Those of you familiar with the wild antics of Sydney band The Scare will be shocked to discover Brock’s soft side which cements him as one of the countries finest guitarists - he twangs with country licks one second yet explodes in walls of air-guitar-worthy noise the next. “Oh Apollo” featuring Mess Hall front man Jed Kurzel is Carmen at her pop-finest. “Mimic The Rain” which follows is just as catchy especially with its should-be classic thumping bass line that kicks it off.

However, for this reviewer the highlight comes with track four, “Gauloises Blues”. Not only did I have to look up the dictionary meaning of what Gauloises meant but, I had to go and find my brain after it was blown out the window by Brock’s ending guitar solo. Alas, that’s only one fragment of the song’s genius. Carmen’s father Peter Head lays down some classic piano lines and certifies the song as a family collaboration long overdue. Speaking of family affairs, it’s truly that mighty vocal melody which has the likes of Tex Perkins and Loene’s daughter Holiday wooing and ahhing to heavenly delight that lines it up against “Nashville High” and “Don’t Let Her Slip Away” as one of her best. This is the kind of song that plays at either the opening or closing credits of a Loene Carmen retrospective documentary somewhere down the track when people finally realise what a national treasure she is.

“Another Man” is another unexpected gem and finds the listener in some sort of noisy whirlwind of a tape loop. Kinda like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz – It’s at this point we become aware that we certainly ain’t in Kansas anymore. We’ve entered the world of the songwriter and her lyrics are top notch which goes to show that Gareth Liddiard isn’t the only lyrical genius in Australia.

At the end of the day – what you have here is ten really fucking good songs with really fucking good musicians with really fucking good production by Burke Reid. It amazes me that it was apparently jammed out in a few days in the studio. I guess the old Palace Records by Will Oldham were done in similar time frames but never were they this polished and constructed.

Forget your Hail Mary’s and your Our Father’s. If you’ve neglected buying any of Carmen’s three brilliant solo albums thus far, fear not. By picking up “It Walks Like Love” all will be forgiven. Amen - Artground


"Rock N Roll Tears"

Gestating too far away from the crushing tedium associated with the fiscally concerned music industry, Australia has produced a string of genuinely great bands, not just AC/DC but a dirty smear of great legendary snarlin’ punk bands from the Saints and the Birthday Party through the Scientists, the Beasts of Bourbon, Lubricated Goat, the Moodists, and many others. With nothing to do but fester, bands grew on non-sun-and-surf related entertainment, spewing out dick-damaged hymns that were anathema to the mainstream. Dirty and sneering Australian rock music blossomed in its own rotten mess. Like Seattle grunge, Australian rockers never drew a simple line between genres, and bands like the Beasts could record country styled records one minute, cock rock damage the next.

Which brings us to Loene Carmen.

It’s a commonplace in reviews of Loene Carmen to mention her place in the pantheon of Australian rock royalty, sure she grew-up within rock—her father was no slouch when it came to music and Bon Scott was a family friend—meanwhile her teenage daughter fronts one of Sydney's hippest combos, Bridezilla. Cult ex-pat Australian depressives the Devastations recorded a brokenhearted love song about a failed relationship with Loene, although they’d never actually met her. Meanwhile her touring band has included various members of the Bad Seeds and Dirty Three, amongst others. For this—her third album—she has used Sydney musicians from The Holy Soul and The Mess Hall.

Decamping to a rural barn in 2006, these twelve songs were recorded over a long hot weekend, creating an intimate, laid back atmosphere and producing an album loosely drawn from dirty country music, garage rock, and pop, moving deftly between and melding styles. Sung predominantly in breathy tones, some of these songs re-work and celebrate rock and roll iconography in its purist form, for example “Oh Yeah” with its driving bass and the anthemic—and partly autobiographical—Rock’N’Roll Tears with its drunken’ braggadocio and celebration of everything that makes rock and roll entertaining; late nights, sex, brawling and bawling, “And a bed full of rock ’n’ roll tears.”

Other numbers—such as “Nashville High” and “Don’t Let Her Slip Away” play lazy fucked-up once-but-no-longer country rock sounding as if Kim Fowley was a teenage girl who spent too long listening to late night radio and dreamt of hitting the road.

The best songs here are the slower, smoky, country tinged numbers songs “Wild Wind,” “Dirt & Air” and the fantastically titled “He Calls Me Flames,” which draw on classic country iconography with sparkles of southern light evoked by distorted guitar. There’s an evocative sense of yearning in these slower songs that capture the need, desire and escape offered by music.

Then there is the pseudo-innocence of the album’s final track “The Bee.” A downbeat, bar closing, end of the night acoustic number that sees Loene in her best sugar-kitten style sex murmur telling a simple story of a love on a summer afternoon. “We made a home among the leaves / and we made sacred ground” she sings, capturing the nature of sunlight, youth and love, which like the momentary stillness of the insect of the title, can only be fleeting.

The nearest comparison would be to Tex Perkins’ solo work, but for Carmen music evokes the promise of something special—the longing that Tom Wait’s described in The Heart of Saturday Night—rather than greasy hard living. The album package is partly designed like a school exercise book, and there’s a sense of youthful dreams here. Of course it’s not the possibility of rock and roll that matters, in the end it’s the failure, because at 5:00 AM the sun is still going to rise and you still have to walk home. Carmen’s songs are familiar with the inevitability of dawn, but are still hoping that there’s time for one last dance. - yourflesh.com - Jack Sargeant


"Rock N Roll Tears"

Loene Carmen is so undeniably fucking cool that she could have been lifted straight out of a Tarantino movie ... her familiarly breathy, sultry vocal sits perfectly atop a combination of dirty blues, rock and country, which bursts from the stereo like a bar-room brawl between The Velvet Underground , Mazzy Star and The Jesus and Mary Chain . And that, I think you will agree, is pretty fucking cool... an intelligent, candid songwriter with a voice so seductive that you’d rip your own heart out and hand it to her if she asked you to. Irresistible stuff. - Something You Said


"Rock N Roll Tears"

‘There ain’t no lady like Loene Carmen, an artist who can deliver a sonic poison arrow with the sweetness of Cupid’s bow. Carmen's brand of torch rock songs with bluesy and alt country flavours on her third album would no doubt see her hailed in Nashville or London as a singular talent, a female Nick Cave but with more to say. ..Carmen delivers unforgettable tunes... - Daily Telegraph


"Rock N Roll Tears"

Loene Carmen might just be a shining light to challenge the patriarchy of Australia's ghostly blues fraternity. Thankfully, she's already been well accepted by those local heroes who do this eerie, heat-haze blue rock so well. .. Carmen has beguiled as many stars as musicians as fawning journalists. Her third album Rock N' Roll Tears is a hypnotic, drowsy requiem ... the staggered mess of her compositions are intoxicating.

The stars singing her praises don't end there. Don Walker says Carmen is “like Marilyn Monroe singing the songs of Bob Dylan or Lou Reed in a Vegas casino”, and Tex Perkins hails her as “a natural...literally a born songwriter”. She road-tested the songs on Rock N' Roll Tears across the US with Jim White of The Dirty Three and through Europe with Warren Ellis, Mick Harvey and Beasts of Bourbon. This sort of itinerary and company would be hard for most men to keep up with, but Loene is one tough rock chick in blood red lipstick.


Across this, her third, album Carmen utilises her lascivious baby-doll voice and her bleeding, broken country instrumentation to evoke a noirish twilight. Far from the more concise performances of Australian blueswomen such as Mia Dyson, Carmen is messy. Her mascara is streaked with those rock'n'roll tears. Her gin bottle is drained. Her banged-up guitar is out of tune and she doesn't care.

Carmen finds herself and her equally roguish cohorts drunkenly blundering between dusty rooms where my-man-done-me-wrong country is propped up by wide-eyed, unhinged blues... This is a late-night album, to be shared with a bottle of whiskey or an ex who broke your heart or preferably both. You can't be held responsible the next morning for what you do that night. And it may not make things right. But sometimes you just have to wallow in it, and Loene Carmen is a perfect accomplice. - Citysearch


"Slight Delay"

Velveteen vocals bubble through a pool of Barbarellas matmos, backlit by Ry Cooder on mescaline, Tortoise-style keys and somnolent beats Loene Carmen inspires devotion from hardcore bikers to art-house boys. Slight Delay, her second solo album, cements the myth in cherry red lipstick. (Natalie Apostolou) - Plan B


Discography

EVERYONE YOU EVER KNEW (IS COMING BACK TO HAUNT YOU)/ Lo Carmen (November 2015)

THE APPLE DON'T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE/Lo Carmen & Peter Head 2013

THE PEACH STATE EP/Lo Carmen 2012

IT WALKS LIKE LOVE/Loene Carmen 2009

ROCK N ROLL TEARS/ Loene Carmen 2007

SLIGHT DELAY/Loene Carmen 2004

BORN FUNKY BORN FREE/Loene Carmen 2002

GUEST APPEARANCES:
The Holy Soul 'DAMN YOU RA!' 2009
Mess Hall 'DEVIL'S ELBOW' LP (Ivy League) 2007
The Wallbangers 'KICK THE DRUGS' ep (BANG! Records) 2007
A Tribute to Rowland S Howard (Stagger Records) 2007
Mick Harvey 'INTOXICATED MAN' (Mute)
Mick Harvey 'PINK ELEPHANTS' (Mute)

Photos

Bio

'...stark country-soul and shimmering blues – a direct line to the heart that showcases her glorious voice ...' (No Depression)

Iconoclastic Australian songstress Lo Carmen has built a killer reputation via her critically acclaimed and diverse independent releases.

Carmen’'s impeccably penned songs offer a compelling authenticity and fearlessness, drifting and rolling like wood smoke through country tinged arrangements, soul styled laments, and post punk variants of what may once have been blues styled rock, carving out a true musical niche for herself, a rewarding, epic and surreal journey through ‘lingering lyrics and Nashville mastery’, anthemic lullabies, psychedelic hymns and fragile folk turns.

Her talents are no secret amongst the Australian music fraternity - Carmen has collaborated, toured and performed with Oz icons such as Paul Kelly, The Drones, Dirty Three, Mick Harvey, The Mess Hall and The Holy Soul and with her legendary rock'n'roll pianist father Peter Head, with whom she released 'The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree', an album of stunning honky-tonk jazz country nightclub ballads in 2013 . 

'It’s always been about the voice. A breathy sigh that suggests so much: beauty and danger, knowing and innocence, sex and longing, and love – both sacred and profane. Across four albums, Loene Carmen’s individual mix of torch blues, gothic country, with occasional outbreaks of smoky nightclub has seduced many who hear it ... She sings it, you believe her. And that’s enough...' (Drum Media)

Fifth album 'Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)' was released November 2015. Post To Wire calls it 'Like Velvet Undergound jamming with Mazzy Star in a Nashville honky tonk after closing time...'