Poppy Xander
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Poppy Xander

Dallas, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Dallas, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Cabaret


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



"Videos: Signy, The Hundred Inevitables, Poppy Xander, Jessie Frye"

Video number three comes courtesy of Poppy Xander with a bit of help from local artist Jeff Skele. Mr. Skele provides the animation for “Little Ghosts”, which tells the story of a woman haunted by memories that prove to be her downfall (as well as for her cats). The video is part whimsical, part heartbreaking, and 100% intriguing and captivating. - Ghost of Blind Lemon

"Album Review: Snake in the Grass by Poppy Xander"

’ve often said there is beauty in simplicity, and that statement can be applied to Snake in the Grass, the debut album from Dallas-based singer/songwriter Poppy Xander.

Almost all eleven tracks that comprise the record feature just her voice and a piano; and there’s something refreshing in the fact that there’s nothing over-the-top.

Don’t jump to conclusions and assume that it’s all ballads, or even remotely close to, say, Sarah McLachlan, though. It’s pretty much the antithesis of that; as the classically trained pianist uses her skills to create some intriguing music that focuses on depth.

From the opener, “The Ren and the Robin”, you’re immersed in a world of vivid storytelling and what some may consider a little offbeat songs (I mean that is a term of endearment). That one in particular is accompanied by a semi-serene, yet moody piece on the piano, making for an interesting offset between the often dark imagery the lyrics conjure.

Xander demonstrates her versatility right away, switching to a huskier voice on “Blackwater on the Rise”, which has a distinctive lounge vibe to it (along with some slight hints of jazz), and it succeeds at transporting you back to a bygone era. The following track, “Paisley”, is a standout from the record, as she taps into a more operatic side here and there. The song (which goes against traditional songwriting, as it does not include a chorus) is somewhat rooted it politics, for example, the third verse, “Take it from them, one percent; and hide it where they’ll never find. Line their country’s walls with dollars; bleed us dry and we’ll up rise.”

The next couple of songs take on a more minimalist sound with the piano being softer from the previous tracks, though it strikes when it can. “Lost Boy” sounds gorgeous, yet ominous; while Xander’s voice is utterly mesmerizing on “Paintman”.

Around the halfway mark, there are finally some love songs. Well, at least “No Way Out” is more centered around love (and the impending heartbreak that often comes with it); while the title track, the somewhat jazz inspired “Snake in the Grass”, is all about lusting after someone. Things switch gears yet again with “Time”. For starters, the piano is replaced with a guitar, and the haunting notes are behooving of what sounds like it could have been a spoken word poem when it was first conceived, before being set to a tune.

“I was Bonnie and you, you were Clyde. Take over the town in just one night. But you robbed of my love; shot up my hopes in a pool of blood,” goes a verse from “Darkness of Your Love”, drawing a very nice comparison between a past romance and those notorious bank robbers.

“Just Over the Rainbow” offers what could be a perfect finish to the album. It’s uplifting and brimming with hope; a stark contrast from how the album began. However, there’s still one song to go, and “Keep Calm and Carry On” again finds Xander focusing partly on politics as well as social issues. From being monitored by the government to people struggling to earn enough to make ends meet, while also going into debt to own things you might not necessarily need. It’s incredibly thought provoking, and easily the most relatable offering from Snake in the Grass.

I can honestly say this is the first album I’ve ever listened to that is just piano and vocals, and it made more of an impression on me than I thought it would.

Nothing about Snake in the Grass is typical of modern music. It’s rooted deeply in the classical vein, while the structuring of the songs often go against the grain. That’s what allows it to stick with you, because it is so different from… well, just about anything you hear. Aside from that, Xander has a phenomenal voice, showing off a vast range; and no matter what the style is she has mastery over it.

The music may be an acquired taste; and admittedly, it took me a few runs through before the songs really started clicking with me more, but that just makes the album all the more interesting. It’s like there are different layers to each track, and the more you listen, the more you uncover. - The Music Enthusiast

"White Noise. Weezer's Coming To Reunion Park, The Colony Angles For Relevancy and The Kessler Eyes Houston."

Another interesting clip comes from Dallas' Poppy Xander who, along with fellow Dallas-based artist Jeff Skele put in over 200 hours crafting her newest video. The reason being? The stop motion-style piece was created using "12 hand drawn backgrounds, 160 moveable parts and 2,000 pictures." The debut of this clip coincides with the release of Xander's new Little Ghosts EP, which is available here. - Central Track


"Little Ghosts" EP was recorded at Sound-o-matic Studio with Carlos Savetman and mastered by Carl Saff.  The EP was released in a limited, signed and numbered first edition set of 100 in May 2015 with artwork by Dallas based artist Jeff Skele.  The album is in two parts: three new tracks and three tracks re-recorded with a full band or extended versions from "Snake in the Grass," Xander's 2014 solo album.  

The first track "Sonny" features a Hohner keyboard accordion as well as tuba, piano and violin.  Xander wrote the song after a trip to Bonnaroo where she met a man, dressed in a blue Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and construction boots.  He couldn't remember his name or where his tent was but he knew it was his birthday and requested that we call him by his cat's name, Sonny.  He wandered into Jeff Skele's art booth at Bonnaroo and sat for 45 minutes before he opened his eyes, revealing their blood shot state, and claimed that he, "mistook us for some people that had helped him before," not realizing he was still in the same place.  His voice was like that of Peter Griffin.  Needless to say, he got his own polka on the album.

"Keep it Together," the second track on the release features Sharla Franklin on the violin and tells the story of someone who keeps waking up, back in reality after they tried to end their life, only realizing "death [is] merely a bluff, and I'd live on forever."  This is one of the more emotional tracks on the album making references to The Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting.

"Little Ghosts" is the title track and features the flute work of Betty Lee.  The story of Bernice is told here, a lonely agoraphobe who stalks men on the internet and fantasizes wildly over the mail man and her ex husband.  She is haunted by the little ghosts, the ones that remind her of all the reasons why she can't leave her home.  The entire story is presented in the music video for the song created by Jeff Skele and Poppy Xander.  The two created the characters and used over 160 moveable parts and 2,000 photographs to animate the paper characters.  

Blackwater on the Rise was originally recorded for solo piano and voice by Xander in 2014 on "Snake in the Grass." With the addition of tuba, percussion, and strings and an ostinato between the verses, Xander was able to capture a New Orleans death march vibe.  Blackwater tells the story of a man who escapes slavery and ends up in the poor houses of Chicago.  Xander wrote it when she was in a slave burial ground in Tennessee.

"Don't Keep Calm" was originally recorded for solo piano and voice under the title "Keep Calm and Carry On." The new version is a sped up Indie anthem featuring bass, violin, and upbeat drums.  The song covers all of the reasons why one should never, under any circumstances, keep calm.

The final track on the album is an extended version of "Paisley." It is a classical style piece written for solo piano and voice.  The story captures the story of a girl working in the a sweat shop and planning a revolution. The new version includes a new introduction and interlude written by Xander for a Halloween performance in 2014.

Xander also released her solo album "Snake in the Grass" in 2014.  The album featured a 12 page booklet of hand written lyrics with illustrations created by Xander.  The album was recorded at Palmyra Studio with Sam Damask and Pappy Middleton at the end of 2013.  Most songs were recorded on a 1920s 9' Baldwin Grand, fully restored and full of dark, rich tones. Time, No Way Out, and Lost Boy use Xander's Korg SV1.  The album was completely composed and produced by Xander.  



Poppy Xander is a composer, keyboardist, and chamber rock band leader/vocalist from Dallas, Texas.  Over the last several years, she has performed her own compositions extensively in North Texas, Chicago, California, Virginia, and Mexico and at notable events including ARTOPIA, Deep Ellum Arts Festival, and Steampunk November.  Xander currently fronts her own chamber rock ensemble with Xander on vocals and keys, Sharla Franklin (Star Party) on violin, Jesse Thompson (Levi Cobb) on upright bass, and Chelsey Danielle (Red's Mixtape) on drums and percussion.  Xander has also received airplay and interviews on Kansas City's "Woman's Song" KKFI, Dallas's KNON and on North Texas Indie station KKXT.

"A unique talent! More composer than just a singer-songwriter,  more cabaret than pop - dark, smart, and fun" - Paul Slaven's, KKXT host

In 2015, Poppy Xander released her first full band EP, “Little Ghosts” which followed her solo debut “Snake in the Grass” (2014). Xander’s compositions and songs are heavily influenced by classical giants like Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussy whom she studied from the age of seven until she received her Bachelor in Music from the University of North Texas.  The songs on both albums use a variety of genres from classical themes to crowd-pleasing polkas, rock, and Rhodes powered waltzes.   

Xander’s live shows are filled with story telling and theatrical energy that conveys the wild range of characters in her songs that inspire the imagination and empathy of her listeners.  Xander also performs as a featured musician with a variety of acts including magicians, burlesque dancers, folk, pop, and rock groups.  In 2016, Xander has released a music video for her single, “Sonny” and continues to compose, tour, and collaborate.   

Poppy Xander performs regularly at venues and festivals in DFW performed her own compositions on bills with Dallas's Confetti Eddie's Variety and Cabaret, Reinventing Jude, Dezi 5, Ishi, and National Acts including Rasputina, and Daniel Knox. 

Band Members