Recording information: Spaceshed, Sierra Madre, CA (12/13/1996-01/07/1997).
Mia Doi Todd's The Ewe and the Eye was released by X-Mas Records in 1997 while the singer/songwriter was finishing her studies at Yale University. On this, her debut disc, her vocal and musical styles are easily comparable to Chan Marshall of Cat Power. Todd's back-to-basics approach (all songs consist entirely of guitar and Todd's vocals) immediately set her apart. The songs are poetic, engaging, and intense yet subdued. Songs like "Stoke the Fire" and "True Love" include a wealth of descriptive imagery. The songs rarely rely on musical conventions. Her classically trained voice is the immediate focus of listeners' attention. "Courting" is possibly the most impressive track on the disc; it works perfectly as a simple song, musically and lyrically. "Johnny Appleseed" works perfectly as a sublime slow-rock ballad. The disc ends with the bright and playful "Autumn." The album was recorded at the Spacehead Studio by Brent Rademaker and Joshua Schwartz in late 1996 and early 1997. Todd was 21 years old at the time of these recordings. This 11-song collection offers a truly powerful perspective on the human condition. ~ Stephen Cramer