Reviews - CDs

My Henry Lee:
"Flynn‘s new album My Henry Lee – streaming at Bandcamp – picks up where she left off with her unselfconsciously haunting, historically-infused 19th Century Songs in 2011. Flynn has been one of New York’s most distinctive, poignantly powerful singers since the zeros, back when the founding member of Bunny Brains decided to study vocals with Shara Worden. If anything, this is Flynn’s most nuanced and dynamic album yet, maybe because it’s mainly just solo electric guitar and voice with the occasional echoey electric piano or guitar overdub. The music is both elegant and scruffy, and very catchy: Flynn likes to juxtapose enigmatic, simple variations on a spare guitar riff with more anthemic, sometimes majestic choruses."More...


19th Century Songs:
"Elisa Flynn’s 2009 album Songs About Birds and Ghosts was a stark, moody collection of literate rock songs. The production went for a scruffy, jangly acoustic-electric feel, but the tunes sometimes reached toward a towering majesty, particularly the opening cut, Timber, a genuine 21st century classic (watch the video, a wry Blair Witch parody, here). So the question that screamed out was what if Flynn decided to go all the way and give her songs an epic grandeur rather than simply hinting at it? That’s exactly what she’s done with her latest release, 19th Century Songs, and that’s why it might be the best rock album of the year.

"Flynn is a one-woman orchestra, playing all the guitars and keys, backed by an alternately mighty and elegant rhythm section of Mark Ospovat (who also produced) on bass and Anders Griffen on drums. Sometimes she unleashes a swirling dreampop cyclotron, other times a savage roar, often both at once: some of this music is the bastard genius child of My Bloody Valentine and the Throwing Muses. Flynn’s vocals on Songs About Birds and Ghosts were gripping – here they are exquisite. She’s always been a good singer – she’s a student of Shara Worden, something that pretty much gives her instant cred – but at this point Flynn has reached the point where she may have surpassed her teacher. And that’s not to disrespect My Brightest Diamond’sfrontwoman, a powerful and dynamic presence, but simply to say that Flynn can pack more wallop into a single, wounded bent note than most people can with an entire album.


"The lyrics explore historical themes, allusively: they’re sung from an eyewitness point of view, often without directly referencing a particular incident or time period, which makes them all the more interesting. The opening track, Close Your Eyes, once again is the real stunner here, pairing off the drama and intensity of the verse against a gentler, watery chorus straight out of the Lush playbook from around 1989. Is this song about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair murders by serial killer H. H. Holmes?  Maybe. 19th Century Breakup Song follows a more predictable trajectory, building up to the chorus, like the Walkabouts if they’d been from Brooklyn instead of Seattle. Flynn’s wary, nuanced voice contrasts with the raw power of the guitars: on an all-too-brief solo, she fires off a series of biting octaves while Ospovat slinks behind her in the shadows.


"The third track, Eliza Donner, evokes Siouxsie & the Banshees, ominous guitar rising and falling above Griffen’s menacing, funereal drums. “Does He watch us like we’re figures in a snow globe?” the doomed woman asks, hope slowly turning to dread. “I can’t hear you talking but I hear the wind laughing at me.” The next song, Fram, seems to be a seafaring epic, a surreal torrent of sinister imagery, its narrator “cutting into ice for weeks and months” over a backdrop of intricate fingerpicking. Flynn goes back to Siouxsie-esque with Poor Little Lamb, the most exhilarating song here, carnivalesque organ fluttering behind the wall of guitars for extra menace. Midway through, when a completely evil dreampop bridge leaps out from behind the central riff, the effect is literally breathtaking. The album closes with the pensive, gothic folk tune William Tecumseh Sherman, a soldiers-eye view of the Civil War where “the blackest days have shown themselves” and southerners (or is it all the soldiers?) “lay down their lives for twisted dreams of older men.” - New York Music Daily
*******
"ELISA FLYNN- 19TH C. SONGS- SELF RELEASED- This is the 2nd cd I have received form BKNY (anti) folk songstress Flynn and it’s very good. The songs are haunting and very dark (at least one about a serial killer but all seem to have a dark, historical perspective) and the rhythm section is solid but it’s Flynn’s powerfulvocals that really stand out. 6 songs and some nice woodcuts as well." - Dagger Zine

Songs About Birds & Ghosts:

"Listening to this cd - Flynn’s second solo effort - the first thing that hits you is what a damn good
singer she is. The phrase “indie rock song stylist” may sound like an oxymoron, but that’s what Elisa Flynn is. Confident and matter-of-fact on the big rockers, she brings it down to a wounded mezzo-soprano on the quieter songs, with a casual vibrato that trails off effortlessly. Flynn’s thoughtful, frequently dark songwriting gives that voice plenty of opportunity to soar and glimmer throughout a mix of scruffily clanging, upbeat guitar-driven fare and slower, more sparse material, often in 6/8 time and minor keys. Lyrically, she balances wry, smartly literate, frequently sardonic humor with an undercurrent of unease. This is the kind of album you want to put on the ipod and let it grow on you as its layers fold back and reveal themselves. There’s a lot to get to know here."  - Lucidculture

"Elisa Flynn is one of the up-and-coming talents in NYC’s burgeoning anti-folk scene, but what sets her apart from the rest of her peers is an infusion in her songwriting of some of the best inclinations of the 80’s indie jangle pop scene. It’s hard to pin down distinct influences (a touch of Barbara Manning here, a taste of the Neats there), but there’s a refreshing and original gaze back to a cruelly underappreciated touchpoint in modern music. Flynn’s debut self-released long-player Songs About Birds & Ghosts kicks off with the elegant, head-nodding dirge “Timber” and then veers between exquisitely crafted ballads about long-lost friends who are “made out of dust” to uplifting numbers that are carried way-up-high by her soaring ‘n’ joyous voice (good luck trying not to sing along with some of them).  And whenever you hear Elisa Flynn sing the banjo-tinged beauty “Big Sky,” an angel doesn’t get its wings, you do." - Rumproast.com

*******
     "Brooklyn singer/songwriter whose music is "kind of a New Zealand-ish folk/pop music with some complex, baroque elements and lots of wordplay." - Jay Hinman, Detailed Twang/Agony Shorthand

 

Live Show Reviews
"Switching between guitar and banjo throughout the night, Elisa Flynn walked a line between surreal balladry and high-energy rock. Flynn’s influences, somewhat narrower in scope than Guillorn’s but explored with similar thoroughness, were unified under the banner of her voice, an instrument with a steady vibrato and almost effortless clarity in its higher registers. These qualities were reinforced well in quieter moments, as in her second song with a syncopated line high on the neck of the guitar, or when she switched to banjo and took a fingerpicked line all over the instrument.

"As someone with roots in the Danbury scene in the ‘90s, Flynn has cherry-picked the best elements of ‘90s music and filtered many of the rest of her influences through that lens. This was most apparent in some of the more spacious moments, reminiscent of the more mystical studio productions that many of the decade’s singer-songwriters turned out, but came across as well in more uptempo moments that recalled the harmonic influence of early alternative rock. Flynn performed several songs from an upcoming EP, “My Henry Lee,” which aims to get closer to her sound as a live performer. But she maintained her distinction as she went into a series of covers, including “Can’t Hold Myself In Line” from Merle Haggard, which she thoroughly made her own, finding ways to meet the tune without melodramatic country clichés."  "Songwriters Do What They Feel, " New Haven Independent 6/11/15, by Adam Matlock


"The whole town seemed to be partied out from the long weekend, so this Small Beast was a particularly intimate one. Monday was comfort night, comfort in darkness, in raw intensity and intelligence with a diverse quartet of acts who share the ability to bring all that for hours on end. Playing solo on acoustic, Elisa Flynn opened the night and immediately delivered chills with her plaintive, austere, broodingly nuanced vocals coupled to imaginatively scruffy guitar playing. She loves 6/8 time, and she knows how to use it, whether on an insistent, hypnotic tune about earth artist Robert Smithson (possibly the only song anyone’s ever written about the guy, she mused), a pensive sleeping-under-the-stars scenario, or a dark wintertime shipwreck tableau. And the single best song of the night, Timber. Others less subtle might be tempted to turn the towering, haunting yet wry ballad into grand guignol, but Flynn didn’t, holding back just a little on the pauses between verse and chorus to drive them home for all they were worth, tossing off a dirty, distorted solo, then hitting her pedalboard to crank up a sweet swoopy slide on her low E string. She closed with a gorgeously intense cover of Silver Rider by Low, wailing on the downstrokes." - Lucidculture 1/19/10

******

"Closing out the night was Elisa Flynn, a talented singer-songwriter performing in the purist strummed-steel-string-and-voice tradition. Flynn’s songs are deep, emotional excursions, straying away from conventional formats. Her well-composed songs convey an underlying sense of subtle darkness, as well as the gratifying notion that Flynn has crafted them for no one other than herself." – Jezeblog 5/8/08
 






















 

Previous shows:


2017

6/27/17 Cowgirl, New York, NY

*3/31/17 Mercy Choir & Friends at Never Ending Books, New Haven, CT

* 3/22/17 Inspired Word NYC at Hell Phone, Brooklyn
* 3/14/17 Tripeg Lobo Presents:  Songs of Revolution and Revolt at the Way Station, Brooklyn
* 3/1/17 St. David's Day show at Sunken Hundred, Brooklyn

*2/24/17 Seven Second Delay presents the Not Untalented Talent Show at Monty Hall, Jersey City, NJ


2016
*12/13/16 Tripeg Lobo Presents: Hell Songs, at the Way Station

*11/18/16 Tarot Society with Maharajah Sweets, Brooklyn, NY

*10/15/15 Slash Run, with Teething Veils, Washington DC
*Tripeg Lobo Presents: It's a Dog's Life- Songs about Animals, at the Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
* 8/24/16 Wednesdays with Westerns! at City Reliquary, Brooklyn
*7/23/16 Music Off McGolrick, at Park Church Co Op, Brooklyn NY
* 6/24/16 Picasso Machinery, Brooklyn, NY 
​* 6/22/16 Tripeg Lobo Presents: Run Run Run - Songs of Escape at the Way Station, Brooklyn, NY 
​* 4/24/16 Murder Ballad Mondays at Branded, Brooklyn, NY
*3/19/16 Bar Matchless, Brooklyn, NY

*3/15/16 Tripeg Lobo Presents: Let's bury the hatchet, like the Beatles and the Stones at The Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
*2/26/16  Brooklyn Fundraiser for 2016 CAMP 
*1/15/16 Bar Matchless, Brooklyn, NY


2015
*12/20/15 Troost, Brooklyn, NY with Tim Poovey, Kevin Robert Thomson, Sugarlife
*12/5/15 Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT: Night of the Living Banjo
*11/19/15 Best Video, with An Historic
*11/17/15  The Way Station, Tripeg Lobo Presents: Bad Blood - Songs of Antagonism and Rivalry

*9/17/15 Troost, Brooklyn, nY with Thee Shambels

*9/1/15 Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
*8/18/15 Tripeg Lobo presents: Goin' to Zion: Religious Songs

* 7/9/15 Cafe Nine, New Haven, Ct with Eilen Jewell

*6/5/15 Neverending Books, New Haven, CT  with Lys Guillorn and

Mercy Choir
5/5/15 Tripeg Lobo Presents: Dreams, Hallucinations and Trips
*4/17/15 Tripeg Lobo Presents a Benefit for WPKN: Late Night
Double Feature Picture Show at Best Video, Hamden, CT
*4/15/15, Troost, Brooklyn with Kevin Thomson
*2/24/15, Tripeg Lobo Presents: Stop Dragging My  Heart Around:

Murder Ballads
*2/6/15, Branded Saloon, Brooklyn, with Maharajah Sweets

and Jim Knable

2014
* 12/14/14, Lys Guillorn's Big Little Sunday Show at Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT
* 11/12/14, Late Nite Double Feature Picture Show: Movie Songs  hosted by Elisa at Way Station
* 8/24/14, Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT
* 7/23/14, Coney Island Baby: Summer Songs, hosted by Elisa at the Way Station, Brooklyn
* 7/25/14, Picasso Machinery, Brooklyn, NY
* 6/28/14, Willimantic Records, Willimantic, CT with George Hakkila, Dawn Cook, Lys Guillorn
* 6/21/14, Make Music Day, NY, in front of Corkscrew Wines, Brooklyn
* 5/22/14, Way Station, Brooklyn, NY

* 4/23/14 My First Record, hosted by Elisa at the Way Station, Brooklyn
* 3/22/14 All I've Got is a Photograph, hosted by Elisa at Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT
* 1/22/14 (The) Civil War(s),  hosted by Elisa at The Way Station

2013
 * 10/13/13 The Only Girl I Ever Loved Was Born with Roses in Her Eyes: History Songsˆ hosted by Elisa at The Way Station
 * 10/3/13 Ange Noir, Brooklyn, NY 
 * 8/25/13 Neverending Books with Mercy Choir and Lys Guillorn, New Haven, CT
 *7/17/13 It Takes Two, Baby: Duets hosted by Elisa at the Way Station, w/10 artists
 *7/1/13 Garbonzo Journal Zine launch party, Bethel, CT
 * 4/16/13 All I've Got is a Photograph: Songs & stories on found photographs, hosted by Elisa at the Way Station, w/10 artists
 * 2/23/13 Willimantic Records, Willimantic, CT with Damon & Naomi
 *1/15/13 Kill and Kill Again: A Nite of Murder Ballads, hosted by Elisa at The Way Station, Brooklyn, w/14 artists

2012
   *12/19/12 Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
   *11/30/12 Anthology of American Folk Music Night, hosted by Elisa, at Cafe Nine,  
    New Haven, CT
   *9/18/12 Anthology of American Folk Music Night, hosted by Elisa, at The Way    
   Station, Brooklyn, NY, featured 12 artists,
   * 8/5/12 Zirzamin, NY, NY
   * 7/9/12 Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY
   * 6/21/12 Make Music NY Day!
   * 6/4/12   Zirzamin, New York, NY
   * 5/26/12 Acousti-than! at Bar 82, New York, NY
   * 4/21/12 Record Store Day, Gerosa Records, Brookfield, CT
   * 4/15/12 Roots Music Hall (opening for Melissa Ferrick), Hartford, CT
   * 4/09/12 Small Beast at the Delancey, New York, NY
   * 3/10/12 The Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
   * 1/12/12 Rabbit Tales at Rabbit Hole Studios, Brooklyn, NY

2011
   * 11/25/11 Trash American Style Anniversary show, Danbury, CT
   * 11/9/11 Bar 82 Acoustithan!, New York, NY
    * 11/2/11 The Way Station, Brooklyn, NY  
    * 10/5/11 Bar, New Haven, CT
    * 8/9/11 The Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
    *  8/1/11 Small Beast at the Delancey, NY, NY
    *  7/1/11 Banjo Jim's, NY, NY
    *   6/9/11 The Way Station, Brooklyn, NY
    *   5/26/11 Banjo Jims, NY, NY
    *   4/14/11 Zebulon, Brooklyn, NY
    *   3/11/11 Sugar Lounge, Brooklyn, NY
    *   2/8/11 Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT

2010
    *  12/18/10 Neverending Books, New Haven, CT
    * 11/12/10 Lovin' Cup Cafe, Brooklyn, NY
    * 10/22/10  Building on Bond, Brooklyn, NY
    *  8/3/10 Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY
    * 6/25/10 Picasso Machinery, Brooklyn, NY
    *  6/19/10 Neverending Books, New Haven, CT
    *  4/19/10 Small Beast at the Delancey, NY, NY
    * 1/18/10 Small Beast at the Delancey, NY, NY

2009
    * 12/18/09 Roots Cafe, Brooklyn, NY
    * 12/3/09 Picasso Machinery, Brooklyn, NY
    * 10/10/09 Spotty Dog, Hudson, NY
    * 10/9/09 Radio Bean, Burlington, VT
    * 10/8/09 Plough & Stars, Cambridge, MA
    * 9/22/09 Googie's Lounge, NY, NY
    * 7/31/09 Songs from the Sofa, Books & Co, Hamden, CT
    * 7/14/09 Sidewalk Cafe, New York, NY
    * 6/29/09 Small Beast at the Delancey, New York, NY
    * 6/7/09 Spike Hill, Brooklyn, NY
    * 5/31/09 Jalopy, Brooklyn, NY
    * 5/16/09 Neverending Books, New Haven, CT
    * 5/9/09 Indie Music Night, Princeton, NJ
    * 5/8/09 The Fire, Philadelphia, PA
    * 4/18/09 Roots Cafe, Brooklyn, NY
    * 4/8/09 Sidewalk Cafe, New York, NY
    * 4/4/09 Buttonwood Tree, Middletown, CT
    * 3/13/09 Spotty Dog Books, Hudson, NY
    * 2/11/09 Resonance at Matchless, Brooklyn, NY
    * 2/1/09 Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA
    * 1/16/09 Roots Cafe, Brooklyn, NY

2008
   * 12/10/08 - Sidewalk Cafe, NY, NY
    * 11/12/08 - Resonance at Pianos (Jezebel Music), NY, NY
    * 10/11/08 - Pianos Upstairs, NY, NY
    * 9/29/2008 - Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn, NY                     
    * 9/11/2008 - Sidewalk Cafe, NYC
    * 8/23/2008 - The Barn Show! S. Windsor, CT
    * 6/26/2008 - Freddy's Bar & Backroom, Brooklyn
    * 5/07/2008 - Jezebel Music's Resonance at Piano's, NY
    * 3/18/2008 - Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY
    * 3/8/2008 - Molten Java, Bethel, CT

2007
    * 12/17/2007 - Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY
    * 9/21/2007 - Spark Con (Berkeley Cafe), Raleigh, NC
    * 9/05/2007 - Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY
    * 8/17/2007 - Banjo Jims, New York, NY
    * 7/19/2007 - Mo Pitkins, New York, NY
    * 6/6/2007 - Jezebel Songwriter's Showcase at Laila Lounge, Brooklyn
    * 5/12/07 - The Buttonwood Tree, Middletown, CT
    * 5/8/2007 - Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY
    * 4/28/2007 - Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn
    * 4/7/2007 - Molten Java, Bethel, CT
    * 3/24/2007 - Kelly LeBrock Tribute nite at Cake Shop, NYC
    * 3/31/2007 - Lower East Side Girl's Club, NYC
    * 3/05/2007 - Googie's Lounge (The Living Room upstairs), NYC
    * 2/3/2007 - Jalopy, Brooklyn
    * 01/17/2007 - Trash Bar, Brooklyn
    * 01/06/2007 - Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn

2006
    * 12/18/2006 - Magnetic Field, Brooklyn
    * 11/29/2006 - Local Correspondents at Bar 4, Brooklyn
    * 11/06/2006- Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn
    * 10/15/2006 - Cake Shop, NYC
    * 09/15/2006 -  Freddys Bar, Brooklyn
    * 09/09/2006 - Barn Show! in S. Windsor, CT
    * 09/02/2006 - Songwriter's Exchange at Vox Pop, Brooklyn
    * 08/06/2006  - The Sidewalk Cafe, NYC
    * 08/02/2006  - The Baskethouse, at the Bitter End, NYC
    * 07/07/2006  - Piano's (Upstairs), NYC
    * 06/25/2006   - La Vernissagerie , at Naked Lunch, NYC
    * 06/23/2006   - Girlsalon (at the Brooklyn Lyceum)
    * 05/27/2006   - Freddy's Bar,  Brooklyn
    * 05/05/2006 - Javapalooza, Middlebury, CT
    * 04/19/2006 - Jezebel Music Songwriter's Showcase at Laila Lounge, Brooklyn
    * 04/05/2006  - 169 Bar, NYC
    * 03/04/2006  - Stain Bar, Brooklyn, CD release party
    * 11/02/2005 - 169 Bar, NYC
   *   09/06/2005  - The Sidewalk Café, NYC

 These are all the solo shows I've played. Previously I played with the Happy Ending in NYC, Jargon Society in CT, and Freak Baby/Jet Jaguar in CT, and a few Bunny Brains shows, but we certainly don't need to go into that. I also briefly played guitar in the Shithouse Lillies, and harmonium and vocals in Bogs Visionary Orchestra.