Ida was founded by two folksingers from New York, Daniel Littleton (who used to
play in a punk-rock band) and Elizabeth Mitchell (a long-time associate of
Tales Of Brave Ida (Simple Machines, 1994) is to 1990s' indie-rock
what the Indigo Girls were to 1980s hardcore.
Leaving behind the furor, but not the issues, and embracing tendere melodies,
the duo delivers old-fashioned, melancholy folk ballads that hark back to the
romantic folksingers of the 1960s (Cat Stevens, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen)
In 1995 Ida released the single It's Not Alright (1995) and Littleton
featured in the post-Tsunami project Liquorice.
The duo added a drummer on I Know About You (Simple Machines, 1996),
but what makes Little Things and Requator sound so much more
musical is actually the guitars and the harmonies, that are used in a more
Touches of cello and piano highlight the delicate compositions of
Ten Small Places (Simple Machines, 1997) and the single
Poor Dumb Bird (1998).
In 1997 the duo was joined by bassist and third songwriter
Karla Schickele (also in Babe The Blue Ox).
She wrote the single Maybelle (1997), a split single with Ida credited
to Beekeeper, and then released an album by her own band,
Beekeeper: Ostrich (Southern, 1998).
Volume One (Muss My Hair, 1999) is a nine-song mini-album credited to
the Ida Retsin Family, which is a collaboration between Ida and
Ida's Will You Find Me (Tiger Style, 2000) benefits from
a huge crowd of friends (and the permanent addition of
Schickele and violinist Ida Perle to the line-up).
It features Shrug and Shotgun.
The material on The Braille Night (Tigerstyle, 2001) comes from
the same sessions.
You Are My Flower (Last Affair, 2002), despite being credited to Ida,
is a children's album performed by Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton.
Ida disbanded and Karla Schickele released two EPs,
Not Here and Your Name and Mine,
and two albums, New Problems (Tiger Style, 2000) and
Goldfish (Tigerstyle, 2002), in an acoustic folk vein,
under the moniker K.
Karla Schickele was also active as K., basically a solo project with help from
other female musicians. New Problems (Tiger Style, 2001) is perhaps
her most mature, sensitive and, last but not least, tuneful work.
Goldfish (Tigar Style, 2002) is equally intelligent and charming.
Heart Like A River (Polyvinyl, 2005) is an uneventful and sometimes dull
tour of their emotional landscape.
It mostly sounds like the album of songwriters who can't help feeling they have
written great lyrics (they haven't) and need to set them to music (and they
are no Beethoven).
The gentle drift of Lovers Prayers (Polyvinyl, 2008) is the same of
all the previous albums, and romantic pastoral ballads such as
See The Stars could have been on any of the previous ones.
Ida are old-fashioned artisans who spend their entire lifetime refining what
they do best.
The seven-song EP My Fair, My Dark (Polyvinyl, 2008) contained some of
their most impeccable creations.
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