Nicole Dollanganger puts her own spin on three covers.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with the idea of fairies, witchcraft, and the movie Hocus Pocus. As a kid growing up in Indiana, the cornfields and sparse forests scattered throughout the state always seemed mystical to me and the full moons always looked a bit brighter. I can’t say that I have grown out of this fascination with the mystic either. This is likely why I am immediately engulfed into the world of Nicole Dollanganger each time I listen to her ethereal music.
Nicole Dollanganger wrote her first album while she was on bed rest in 2012 and released it to Tumblr. Since then, she has put out five albums, three EPs, and three singles along with opening for Grimes in the fall of 2015. Needless to say, she’s accomplished a lot at the relatively young age of 24. Dollanganger's voice floats almost as if sound could be a veil for your ears. Her vocals are reminiscent of a softer CocoRosie, a tone that could summon woodland creatures in a forest. Dollanganger's most recent work is a short group of three covers. The series begins with “Loveless Nightmare” (originally by Twitching Tongues, a hardcore punk band) and the four-minute track is immediately set apart from the original song. Dollanganger's use of the piano, combined with her soft croons, add the unearthly feeling to the song, coming across almost as if she was a ghost. Her vocals are faint as she opens with the lyrics, “As days pass, your presence is unsettling.” Her voice, unsettling and charming, will make you want to float in a mossy pond in a white dress.
The second song in the series, “Helena,” begins with Dollanganger crooning “Long ago,” a haunting introduction to My Chemical Romance's classic hit. Throughout it, she continues to play with the form of the song, layering her vocals on top of one another to create a weighted sound. While the original version included drums and a bass, she creates her own amalgamated version, placing the song into a fantasy land through her soft witchy croons. The final song on the set of covers is “Let’s All Go To The Lobby,” the timeless jingle from 1950's movie theaters. Rather than the typical upbeat version, her cover of “Let’s All Go To The Lobby” sounds more like a lullaby. Because the song is only fifty-second long, the length of the song juxtaposes with breathy vocals, ending abruptly and catching one’s attention. With this being the last song, Dollanganger’s short set of covers have an everlasting effect, making me want to listen to the set of songs over and over again.
Listen to Nicole Dollanganger on bandcamp.
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Amelia Eskenazi is a feminist and gender studies and art student at Colorado College. In their free time, they enjoy collaging boxes, dying their hair at 2 am, and eating freeze pops in the shower. Their political pondering and rants can be found on Twitter and their photographic outbursts can be found on Instagram at photobscura_ and a_eskenazi.