Songs of Love & Empire
Julie Ritter was one of the lead singers, main songwriters and founding members of the influential Los Angeles rock band, Mary's Danish. After the group disbanded, she continued to write and perform. In 1995 she released 'Medicine Show,' a spoken-word CD on New Alliance/SST. She has also composed music for film and television. Over the years, she has played in several bands, most notably, Pistol Star, with ex-Grant Lee Buffalo bassist, Paul Kimble. Mary's Danish has also played select shows in the Los Angeles area during the last few years, including a performance at the House of Blues. The role that Julie and Mary's Danish played in the late 80's and early 90's helped increase the visibility and popularity of women in rock music. STEVE BALTIN, CDNow Senior Editor, Alternative/Indie On Songs of Love and Empire, former Mary's Danish vocalist Julie Ritter puts to shame 90 percent of the major label releases with the best album you haven't heard this year. Ritter's first solo album of songs (she did release a spoken-word recording of her poetry a few years ago) is confident, mature, diverse, and, oh, so enticing. Ritter returns to the hard-hitting alterna-pop of her Mary's Danish days on the opening track, 'Bed,' as well as on 'Aeroplane,' a song that with a major-label push would be on your favorite radio station constantly. Songs... goes well beyond her Mary's work, though. 'Cry Baby Cry' and, in particular, 'Play My Favorite Song,' feature slow, grinding blues vocals sultry enough to heat up a monk. Arguably the album's finest track is the piano-based story, 'Jesus of New York.' Ritter shows off her narrative skills, as well as her lovely, lilting vocals, on the seductive tale of a one-night stand. As a whole, 1999 was a fairly dismal year for music, with adult listeners being bombarded with teenage bubble-gum pop and the same one-note testosterone rock. However, Songs of Love and Empire offers a more than worthwhile alternative to the monotony of this year in music. CHRIS CARTER, UBL.com & Y-107 I love records like this. You know, the kind of disc that just blows you away like out of nowhere. The kind of disc you would play 4 songs from in 3 hours if you had a radio show. Released on a small label called Luxstar, Ms. Ritter's (ex-Mary's Danish) first solo record is a lo fi gem, a weird blend of Mazzy Star meets Patti Smith if she lived in Hollywood. From the riveting electric opener 'Bed' through the phased out bliss of 'Gone' to the closing notes of 'and what were roses,' Ritter delivers some of the best tortured songscapes in recent memory. I'm serious about this one gang...Buy 'Songs of Love and Empire' now! Note: This record may be somewhat hard to find, if you can't find it here on the ubl, check out her site (http://www.julieritter.com) ****1/2 Paul Andersen, Consumable Online, June 1, 2000 Quite simply, Ritter has crafted a set piece that is stunning from the opening to the bell-ringing close. Top 10 for 1999 CD Now, Entertainment Today, Venice Magazine, Yeah Yeah Yeah and 28th Street all rank 'songs of love and empire' on their Top 10 lists. Reviews follow: Top 10 for 1999 Review A startlingly real & developed work, occasionally reaching the genius level, especially on the beautiful Jesus of N.Y. & the glam-esque Play My Favorite Song. Internet Issue #78 'Ritter has something to say, and she says it with aplomb. The melodies behind the words are astonishing. She has too much talent not to be heard.' Top 10 for 1999 Review Songs...alternately rocks with wild abandon and closes in on itself with muted elegance, all framing intelligent lyrics befitting a published poet. scaruffi.com Julie Ritter's solo Songs Of Love And Empire is a fresh and uplifting excursion through rocking rave-ups and country ballads. (Bed, And What Were Roses). 'songs of love and empire' is the solo debut by Julie Ritter, singer/songwriter and co-founder of the band Mary's Danish. This CD is a soulful, blues-based alternative rock record of beautiful, moody slow pieces, up-tempo punk-pop and winding, mournful rock and roll. It is an emotional and intimate CD with a textural production, powerful vocals and buzzy guitars. Fans of Mary's Danish will recognize Julie's well-crafted songs, intelligent storytelling and vocal skill, but on this recording, she takes them all a step further.