Xenia Dunford & The Eastern Exile – Lonely Streets
From gigging at some of the hottest scenes in Boston, Cambridge and NYC to doing the same thing cross-country in L.A. Xenia Dunford & The Eastern Exile have put together their debut EP, Lonely Streets. Though Xenia previously released a self-titled solo debut EP in 2011, her talents combined with the new band made up of Scotty Mlodzinksi on guitar, Forrest Pettengill on bass, and Adam Farley on drums create a new sound they can collectively call their own. A more solidified and deeper style.
From the first second of the first song I listened to, the first word that came to my mind was sweet. I don’t mean this in a cheap way either. “Best I’ve Ever Had” starts out as a bluegrass tune you would hear on a Dixie Chicks album, but as soon as Xenia starts to sing, you know it is something different. Her voice is jazzy, sultry and sexy, reminiscent of Nora Jones and others in the jazz/country genres.
The other four songs don’t have the same energy, but where they lack in energy they make up for in soul. My personal favorite on here is “Every Now & Again”. It’s catchy, it’s funky, and with lyrics like, “’Cause I’ve been feeling so tired. Yeah I’ve been feeling so god-damned uninspired,” we can only assume Xenia is singing from some place very real within her.
Bands like these make my job easy. I can’t even remember the last time I listened to an album (or an EP for that matter) from start to finish, without breaks. But for this one, I made an exception. I couldn’t help myself.
Generally, I don’t appreciate EPs from really good artists. They’re teasers. EPs should be restricted to really sucky artists whom we can’t bear to hear any more than four or five songs, but not for people like Xenia Dunford & The Eastern Exile. No, now we officially need a full-length from them. The music is moody and soulful; the mixing is damned near perfect, and the writing is as good as their performance. They sound old and new at the same time. It’s raw, emotional, and full of dynamics in both rhythm and texture. I feel like I’m just throwing around random words now, but suffice it to say, this is a strong debut, indeed.