DOWNLOAD: Shepherdess, "Not Gonna Be There Now" (mp3)
For reasons that aren't entirely musical, Hilken Mancini was our favorite member of Fuzzy. Chris Toppin was technically the better singer, but Hilken was the one with the squeaky voice, the messy guitar, and the skintight jumpsuits. The one, obviously, who stood out. Since Fuzzy, she's often ended up undeservedly playing second fiddle (garage-punk with the Count Me Outs, indie-folk with Buffalo Tom's Chris Colburn, DIY jane fonda in Punk Rock Aerobics). But in Shepherdess she's front-and-center, fusing her underappreciated knack for heart-destroying melodies with moody, soul-jarring bursts of magical noise. (Think Mary Timony, minus the unicorns.) This band, with the Count Me Outs rhythm section and the Operators' Emily Arkin on strings and samples, might be her best yet. And the songs, especially this one and the meaner "Green Seat," (<-- right-click, save-as) will rip your guts out.
Don't miss: the CD-release party tonight at the Plough with Cave-In's Steve Brodsky, Phoenix contributor and Pipeline host and now musical recording artist Jeff Breeze, Mission of Burma's Clint Conley, and frequent Burma lyricist Holly Anderson's duo New Randy.
DOWNLOAD: Shepherdess, "Faith" (mp3)DOWNLOAD: Hilken Mancini and Chris Colburn, "Party Town" (m4v video)