priya thomas
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priya thomas

Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Band Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos




PRIYA THOMAS - The Anti Hit List
by John Sakamoto (the Toronto Star)

"Had I Known I Would Have Declined"

Not many rants would resort to the phrase "mercenary functions" to convey bitter disappointment, but this almost comically literate preview of the Toronto-based singer-songwriter's next album is no run-of-the-mill tantrum. Spitting out the lyrics the way Dylan spewed out "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," Thomas manages to come across as both seething and perfectly composed. (From Blood Heron, out Oct. 28, - John Sakamoto


... Priya Thomas has chosen an even more provocative sound that picks through the greatest attributes of songwriting royalty, assembles those parts that fit her means and uses those collages to produce an incredibly spare but powerful sound all her own.

It does need to be said that there is exactly nothing earnest about the ten tracks that make up Blood Heron. From the opening acoustic charge of "Your Guitar, My Undoing," Thomas lets it all hang out (slightly mumbled and garbled lyrics, dirty, unpolished guitars) and flow as naturally as it comes to her. From the very beginning of the record, it doesn't seem like any effort has been made to edit a single note or confrontational lyric from these songs, she simply lays them out plainly for audiences to take or leave as they please, but that's only part of what's at work here. So understated that it almost goes unnoticed on first listen, additional fragments of sound (piano, organ, additional percussion) lurk around the edges of the song as if it was originally recorded on secondhand, half-erased tape but as if by magic actually manages to add auxiliary texture that beefs it up and fleshes it out. Those ambient sounds creep a little closer into the foreground of "Had I Known, I Would Have Declined" to add an air of delicacy to the proceedings and complimenting Thomas' mournful whisper beautifully. "Dakota From The Hebrew" continues the building trend, but as soon as "Vigilante" kicks over the transition is spontaneously complete and the effect is nothing short of bordering on religious epiphany. Lips pulled back into a sneer, Priya Thomas delivers a harsh, dismissive rant that'll bring even the most hard-boiled listener to his knees. The layered and loose guitars sprawl into every corner of the aural spectrum and make a believer out of anybody that wasn't already sold on the notion that this singer doesn't have to be sweet and nice, she's got simply knee-buckling songwriting skills to fall in love with.

From there, the rest is gravy; "Gunpowder Heart" sighs exhaustedly at a lover Thomas has no further use for before hoping another one will come back to her in "Lit Lightning" and hardening up to profess that she "don't need no one" in "Wine Moonshine And Sugar Beams." At no point does the singer slouch into resignation and simply accept anything here; she's always got her back up and is willing to fight at the drop of a dime in these ten songs but Priya Thomas isn't simply some two-dimensional rabble rouser. Rather, Blood Heron presents a whole picture of the songwriter from every angle. Like Dylan, she's dissociated enough here that she can be as honest (or not) as she chooses without hesitation; like Sebadoh, one of the singer's most endearing qualities is her openness to be taken as she is but, like Lucinda Williams, she won't play a victim and will take a swing when she needs to. Blood Heron is Priya Thomas' naked expression of all that she is and because she makes no excuses or apologies for it, it is a potent and beautiful record. Songwriters of any stripe can only hope to release a record as strong as this.

- Bill Adams, Ground Control (

"The Gateway CD REVIEW"

The Gateway, University of Alberta: Joshua De Groot, Arts & Entertainment Writer

With the drunken drag of her drawling voice and her leisurely guitar strumming, the songs sound like they come straight from her head to the microphone. However, the guitar work on "Lit Lightning" and "Vigilante," subtle like Television's Tom Verlaine, shows the thought behind the songs. Her cutting words on "Wine, Moonshine, Sugar Beams" ("Now I got a blood vow to keep you riddled, shot full of holes / Come on, face the woman now who outdrew you") seem to be injecting regret directly into the heart of an ex-lover somewhere in Thomas' past.

Playing most of the instruments herself, including pots and pans on "Farewell Creek," Priya Thomas has taken her deep knowledge of musical history and channeled it into a mix of songs that almost don't fit together, but somehow work perfectly.

Is Blood Heron is an album that sounds like it could have been recorded 100 years ago, yet it isn't out of place among contemporary records like the alt-country of Neko Case or the experimental folk of Sufjan Stevens. - The Gateway: University of Alberta


Classically trained Canadian Priya Thomas has been in the music biz since her 1996 debut, "In The Throes of the Microscope", but I confess that her upcoming 2008 release, "Blood Heron," is the first I�ve heard of her. And I couldn't wait to tell you about it.

Opening track, "Your Guitar, My Undoing", is the most mainstream song on the album, with a steady beat and a classic rock feel, sung like Lou Reed on "New York". The normalcy is deceptive, though, because under it is an alt-rock feel, a slightly behind-the-beat strum, and layers of vocals that seem to pile higher as the song reaches its climax. On "Had I Known, I Would Have Declined", Ms. Thomas sinks a little deeper. She's still using the classic song, but now she's closer to Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" period; but there's a fuzzy, bassy noise in the background, and about halfway through she interrupts herself with voice that sounds like Sam Philips, showing range and charm. It's almost like doing rounds of Row Row Row Your Boat: It feels like it all fits together, but something is slightly off. And then the song ends, suddenly, abruptly, like it fell off a shelf.

As the album continues, increasing amounts of ambient noise and dissonant harmony are introduced in a wonderful, jumbled mess. It's as if each song was broken down into component parts and then all the parts were put in a pile and new songs were assembled, using pieces from a variety of sources. It's not an easy record to hear, but to listen is an experience. In a world where so many female singers make little more than background music, here's a songwriter who is not afraid to stand up in front, take risks, and challenge her listeners. She's got a beautiful voice, but she's willing to sound ugly when it fits the song. And she can write uncompromising, half-broken songs as good as Tom Waits or anyone else.

This is an extraordinary album.

For fans of: Marnie Stern, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Beck, Radiohead. And if that's an eclectic group, there's a reason: Priya's songs travel through each of these regions, seamlessly, combining sounds you've never heard before with ones that are intensely familiar. - Berkeley Place Indie at


The album stands with some of the best homespun work by folks like Sufjan Stevens and Bruce Springsteen.

With limited session players and garage sale instruments, the album simmers with ramshackle beauty. Thomas' soulful voice is the focus, but how she transforms it from track to track is the real miracle. One minute she's fronting Neutral Milk Hotel, then she's belting out a Tom Waits B-side, then effortlessly she's channelling PJ Harvey. - Jason Lewis, FFwd Weekly Calgary


Priya Thomas is Blood

Heron (Renovation Tracks)

Sunny Lane

by Brad Wheeler

In the liner notes to her stunningly uncrafty new album, singer-songwriter Priya Thomas writes of coming off the road, dusty and heavy and 'smelling like a New Mexico hotel.' Her stuff was still in boxes; the house in ramshackle shape. She set about renovation, but it wasn't just walls and fixtures that needed work. Priya Thomas is Blood Heron is an unguarded album of betrayal, cutting losses and creating things from scratch. And although it doesn't sound like Thomas is finished fixing herself up yet, I like what she's done with the album.

Opening track Your Guitar, My Undoing begins abruptly, its drawling strum putting Rickie Lee Jones in the dark dream-pop universe of Mazzie Star. Thomas, on her fourth album, is not one for plans: Come-and-go boys are fleeting, like storms. The memorable Had I Known, I Would Have Declined - jagged, ragged and Dylan-like - is an unsent letter to a past lover, with Thomas thinking clearly in hindsight. After the baptismal Dakota From the Hebrew, the angry Vigilante is strident, with monstrous guitar noises.

The Montreal-raised and Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist wrote the material for Blood Heron while on tour. Farewell Creek is southern-Gothic ukulele blues, while Wine, Moonshine, Sugar Beams has a Mojave drone. 'To the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat' is a relentless chant from someone whose boat does not go merrily downstreams.

Upon finishing the tour, Thomas unpacked her instruments and recorded on analog tape without much forethought. The sounds are at once grungy and graceful, with an omnichord's pretty tings, for example, heard amid tougher tones. Although there are a few folks involved, mostly it's Thomas, with co-producer Stephen Pitkin of Elliott Brood on drums on half the tracks.

She doesn't sound like him, but Thomas reminds me of the late ChrisWhitley, a rough-cut roots rocker who didn't so much perform his music as exude it.
It's raw stuff - all guts, bones and jugular veins - and it's something to hear it build from nothing. - Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Priya Thomas Blood Heron Review
(Sunny Lane Records)
from Discorder, Vancouver
by E. E Mason

'...It's no surprise to discover that these songs were written on the road, and the result is an album full of grainy, lo-fi textures, as titles such as "Wine, Moonshine, Sugar Beams" and "Farewell Creek" suggest. In the opener, "Your Guitar, My Undoing," her acoustic guitar finds the perfect midpoint between melodic hum and infectious, chunky, percussive rhythm, while on "Vigilante" she coats mean vocals with a blistered layer of electric guitar. On "Had I Known, I Would Have Declined," Thomas works more detailed acoustic patterns which underpin quieter, reflective vocals; but even as the spectrum of emotions strays from attitude to longing and regret and back again, the raw atmosphere of this album stays constant. Although the words seem at times to dissolve into the textures of the music, and splinters of lyrics spin out and accumulate into impressions of love, loss or anger, there are definitely no smooth edges here. Blood Heron rewards the listener's attention with a journey of crunchy attitude and moments of ragged grace.'
- E.E Mason, Discorder Vancouver


November 2008 BabySue Blog, Chattanooga, TN

Blood Heron is a loose and rough collection of tunes...purposely left without the normal glossy excess that modern recording technologies allow. What we found most intriguing about this album are the lyrics. Much like a poet, Priya manages to present her thoughts and ideas in ways that are precise and just a bit obtuse. Heron presents a world where underground pop creeps over the surface and almost becomes accessible. Her vocals sound decidedly unrehearsed at do many of the instruments on this album. Thomas plays most everything herself although different friends lend their support on various tracks...Now that we've heard this...we are anxious to go back and pick up Priya's previous albums. Neat stuff, aimed at folks who don't need the schmaltzy and pretentious sound of a big professional studio... (Rating: 4++++) - Baby Sue Blog, TN.

"DISC OF THE WEEK, The Montreal Mirror"

Disc of the Week Montreal Mirror

Priya Thomas is Blood Heron, Sunny Lane, Disc of the Week in Montreal Mirror:

"Decidedly more rock than roots, Thomas’s first-take creations are built
on a blues/folk foundation, with guitars, piano, organ and omnichord
kicking it drawn out and pretty, raw and gritty or stoney and droney." (Lorraine Carpenter)

"DISC OF THE WEEK, The Detroit Metro Times"

"Poetess Priya is Canada's answer to Patti Smith, only she's a much better singer, a much better writer and a whole lot smarter. Plus, she lives up to the song title 'Your Guitar, My Undoing' by unleashing a blistering solo the likes of which hasn't been heard since Fripp lost a grip on 'Here Come the Warm Jets'." -

(Jeffrey Morgan, The Detroit Metro Times) - Detroit Metro Times


Priya Thomas is Blood Heron (Renovation Tracks) -CD
You and Me Against the World Baby -CD
Songs for Car Commercials -CD
Armageddon Weather Channel -CD
In the Throes of the Microscope -CD



"Teetering on the edge of being a household name", Priya Thomas is known for her consistently strong songwriting and stunning live performances. Her new record, Blood Heron, was released on October 28th through Sunny Lane Records in Canada.

Known for her incendiary live performances, Priya Thomas released her first full-length album in 1996,
and since then, has shared the stage with the likes of Radiohead, John Cale, The Fall, and The Dears.
Her 2006 release, You and Me Against the World Baby, received rave reviews for its eye-of-the-storm
sonic assault, and its rich, imaginative literacy. Vancouver's Georgia Straight ranked Thomas'
album alongside releases by Neko Case and Cat Power as one of 2006's Top Ten Records of the Year.

The new Blood Heron disc is a collection of smoldering, unpolished love songs more immediate and
intimate than anything Thomas has yet released. It's a lo-fi suite of missed mutes, tape stretch, and first takes. Recorded at home to half inch 8, the raw mix reveals every creak of the floors, the buzz and hum of
warp-necked guitars, and the sound of musicians stumbling around a tiny room.

A record meshed somewhere
between the worlds of Sufjan Stevens, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, Thomas sounds something like Grace Slick
banging pots and pans; or Mazzy Starr, accompanied by warped ukeleles, clattering tambourines and plunky

Written while on the road, the arrangements on Blood Heron are threadbare with wide-open spaces that reflect the slow, psychedelic pace of traveling cross-country in a van. Thomas wrote much of the record in hotel rooms, borrowing the odd spare guitar, and carrying around a little black notepad. The result is a collection of love songs, unadorned and simple, that sweep the continent, exhuming the Canadian landscape, and the deep American South.