Alina Simone: She grew up here, we swear!
DOWNLOAD: Alina Simone, "Half My Kingdom" [mp3]
Unofficial rule of thumb: if your personal exposure to within a 50-mile radius of metro Boston exceeds one year (with school years counting), we get to say you’re from here. That said, meet Boston’s own ALINA SIMONE — if you haven’t already. She’s Ukraine-born and now a Brooklynite by way of Austin, but we swear she grew up around here for a while. Her searing, often mordant folk has as many marks of Mary Lou Lord as it has hints of Damon and Naomi — but with a far higher grit factor. “Half of My Kingdom” suffers not for being sung in Russian — the unrelenting scratch of electric guitar, the lonely determined banjo, the pining horns, and Simone’s quavering whisper tell tales of their own. It’s one of many dark, bright moments on her latest, Everyone Is Crying Out to Me, Beware, which came out yesterday on 54° 40’ or Fight!
Next week in the fishwrap (but already available online) music editor Michael Brodeur talks to Simone about growing up in Medford, finding Russian indie-rock in Brighton Beach, and how she came across the songs of Siberian-born punk-folk singer Yanka Dyagileva.
In the meantime, download "Half My Kingdom" above and make plans to see her before she gets huge and/or abducted by Stoli’s marketing team: next chance is at the Middle East upstairs on August 10, where she’ll be joined by Eugene Mirman and NYC’s Tonearm.