CarmenVillain_byAdinaFohlin4

The phrase “actor/actress-turned-singer” is likely to strike fear into the hearts of any music fan with a sense of history when it comes to that career choice. The only phrase that could top it is “model-turned-singer,” but Carmen Villain used to be known as Carmen Hillestad, a model whose face you probably saw all the time on magazine covers without ever putting a name to it, so it’s a big surprise that Sleeper, Hillestad’s debut album under the Carmen Villain moniker, defies any preconceptions you might have. The evidence here is that she is in fact a proper musician who happened to fall into modeling, rather than the other way ’round.

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Sleeper is due for release next week (March 12th) through Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound, and it is the sound of someone who has a real grasp of lo-fi rock dynamics, the likes of which Sonic Youth used to make a killing with. Hillestad also shares that group’s ability to switch between bursts of dissonance and discomfort, and she injects Sleeper with a real melodic sweetness that makes the album an agile and unpredictable listen. As a multi-instrumentalist, she did most of the work herself, and the result is an album with a singular vision and plenty of substance. Check out the video for lead single “Lifeissin” below:

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Carmen Villain