New York-based singer-songwriter Marykate Oâ€™Neil is releasing her fourth solo effort, Underground (Nettwerk/71 Recordings), on February 3rd, 2009. Following 2002â€™s self-titled album, 2006â€™s 1-800-Bankrupt, and most recently, 2008â€™s mkULTRA EP, Underground presents a collection of exquisitely crafted, impeccably literate pop songs. With her work previously hailed by critics as â€œdeeply authentic and originalâ€ (Rolling Stone) and â€œpure magicâ€ (Filter), Underground reaffirms Oâ€™Neilâ€™s exceptional talent for heartfelt, bittersweet songwriting.
â€œI feel lucky to have all of my friends play on the record because music for me has always been about community,â€ she says, â€œ…and in that spirit I always try to drag about everyone I know into my projects.â€ Fortunately, Oâ€™Neil seems to know no one but talented musicians. She shares producing credit with Jill Sobule, Jacob Lawson, and Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Elvis Costello, Sleater-Kinney), and contributors include Mickey Grimm (Butterfly Boucher, Over the Rhine) and Ken Maiuri (Pedro the Lion, Soft Drugs, Mark Mulcahy).
â€œI just donâ€™t think the underground is ever over,â€ Oâ€™Neil adds. â€œBe it music, art, writing, ideas… I just think sometimes it all get harder to find… and I think we are living in one of those more elusive times, where things are all getting done in a more underground/DIY kind of way — even if you aren’t the MC5.â€ Be that as it may, Oâ€™Neil has managed to capture the DIY, community spirit on these eleven tracks, in everything from the production to the album artwork. Recording was accomplished everywhere from friendsâ€™ studios, including Fountains of Wayneâ€™s Stratosphere Sound, to her kitchen table in Bed-Stuy. For the record cover, Oâ€™Neil collaborated with Craig Eastland to create a look based on the East Village Other, including a protest poster from May 68 and a Polaroid of Marykate, age 4, flashing a peace sign. Accompanying the record release will be a downloadable booklet, in the style of an underground newspaper, with contributions from Marykateâ€™s collective.
â€œThe underground is over if you want it…. As for me,â€ Oâ€™Neil says, echoing the title track, â€œ…I donâ€™t want to leave the underground.â€
past praise for Marykate Oâ€™Neil:
“Marykate’s skillful melodies and delicate voice are veritable pearls of sweetness. Deeply authentic and original, Marykate has crafted a style with humor and irony intact anchored in daily life.” â€“ Rolling Stone
“If Elvis Costello and Astrud Gilberto swapped spit in another time dimension, singer/guitarist Marykate O’Neil would be the musical spawn of their eros. A doll-faced talent with enough 60’s chutzpah and ’90’s cynicism to spark her own songwriting genre — call it ‘beat-pop’.â€ Picked as an Essential Listen â€“ CMJ
“Marykate O’Neil an artist to watch. 1-800-Bankrupt is a charming sophomore effort and a rare instance where everything simply clicks. This album is pure magic from start to finish.” – Filter
“Marykate O’Neil is an artist with a sweet voice, biting and witty lyrics, and folk pop arrangements. 1-800-Bankrupt is witty angsty goodness.” – Venus
“Bankrupt is a classic singer-songwriter collection. Marykate O’Neil has now done two glorious albums melding genre-defining influences such as Brill Building songwriting with alt-pop seasonings. Her songwriting explores the tribulations of life in the city with self-depreciating humor.” – Boston Globe