New Music Monday: Asaf Avidan
As of today Asaf Avidan has never had a record officially released in the United States even though he enormously popular in his home country of Israel and around Europe. Before embarking on his solo career Avidan fronted Asaf Avidan and the Mojos. Before announcing an indefinite hiatus the band had albums that topped Best of the Year and went platinum throughout Europe. Avidan returned in 2012 with Different Pulses, which was critically acclaimed throughout Europe but never officially released in the United States.
Tomorrow, after four albums, Avidan’s new record, Gold Shadow, will be his first official release in the US. The music combines his pop sensibility, complex melodic arrangements, captivating lyrics, and signature voice to great effect. As NPR’s Bob Boilen noted “Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan are all in [his voice], but they add up to a wholly original sound.”
The music on Gold Shadow leans heavily toward the bluesy side of contemporary rock music with occasional excursions into folkier and more personal territory. The album’s first single, “Over My Head” delves into the personal side. Asaf explains that it was inspired by the relationship he has with his life partner. “It was the night when I put my old demons to sleep, and decided to choose life. ‘Till this day I’m amazed that she had the patience for my stupidity, and this is my way to say thank you … thank you for leaving the door open.”
“The Labyrinth Song,” one of Gold Shadow‘ folkier tracks, reveals the depth of Avidan’s songwriting abilities. Featuring only his voice and a guitar, “The Labyrinth Song” is a probing self-examination backed by a gorgeous melody. Asaf Avidan may not have yet released an album in the United States, but Gold Shadow will be an excellent starting point for American audiences.