Jill Cunniff has gotten into some serious world music since her days with Luscious Jackson, and recent album City Beach takes its eclectic cues from bossa nova beats, tropical imagery, and a fair bit of trip-hop. Stripping off those diverse elements is a risky move, but Cunniff's live shows show she's not a product of the studio. Here, she takes a minimalist approach, pairing herself with a single guitarist pushing her jazzy vocals to the forefront on acoustic-based odes to summer, boys, and all-around happiness.
A lot can be done with these renditions, actually. Cunniff strums her guitar occasionally; other times, her nimble-fingered partner handles the accompaniment himself. The two sing together, harmonizing softly and channeling a laidback, coffeehouse spirit. City Beach will make listeners dance, but Cunniff's live show will encourage you to sit back, take off your shoes, and welcome the approaching summer with soon-to-be tanned arms.
- Andrew Leahey
Jill Cunniff, lead singer of alterna-girl pop group Luscious Jackson, was born and raised in NYC, and spent her days in Greenwich Village in an intense, bursting time for artists, eccentrics, and individualists searching for like-minds to connect with. Right in the heart of an ardent artistic community—where, as Jill described: "you'd see the freshest kids breakdancing right around the corner from St. Marks Sounds record shop and Rat Cage Records, which is where Jill's friends the Beastie Boys first sold their records. Jill recalled: "we used to help our friends sell records on the street back then, and it was such a great place to learn about music—just hanging out and being a teenager. All the shop owners were artists and musicians; it was definition of an artistic community, a veritable cultural exchange"
In the summer of 2006 she was signed to The Militia Group, which released her solo debut, the dancey, Brazilian pop-inspired City Beach.