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Danielle Howle and the Tantrums

Danielle Howle is an assured and talented singer-songwriter, but not the sort who tells her stories using only her voice and a gently strummed acoustic guitar. Instead she complements her tales with an extraordinary facility for a remarkably wide range of popular music genres. This means that a Danielle Howle album will likely feature everything from country hoedowns to snarling metallic garage rockers to lazy jazz-flavored cabaret numbers to wistful folksongs. Her seamless segues between these seemingly disparate genres make you realize how irrelevant our perceived delineations between genres really are. Naturally she couldn't do it without the help of her talented backing band, The Tantrums, who ably execute whatever style or combination of styles Howle calls for, but the real thread connecting all the very different songs is Howle's warm, earthy, emotional voice and enjoyably verbose, nuanced lyrical style (she is also a spoken word artist and playwright).

The Columbia, SC-based musician first surfaced in the early '90s with her well-regarded band, Lay Quiet Awhile with whom she recorded one album, Delicate Wire. She took it solo in the mid-'90s, putting out a seven-inch single and a live album before issuing her studio debut (with the Tantrums), About to Burst, in 1996 on the now-defunct Simple Machines label. A year later, Howle and the Tantrums put out their second record, Do a Two Sable, on the Indigo Girls' Amy Ray's Daemon Records. In 1999, Howle recorded a Tantrum-less album, Catalog, for Kill Rock Stars, but in 2002, the band reunited to release their third studio LP together, the stunningly eclectic, masterfully rendered Skorborealis.