Album: ‘Mondo Amore’
Release Date: 28 March 2011
Label: Proper Records Ltd

Nicole Atkins releases her new album, ‘Mondo Amore’ on 28 March 2011 on Proper Records.

It’s been a tumultuous three years since the release of New Jersey-born Nicole Atkins’ acclaimed 2007 debut, Neptune City, and its follow-up, Mondo Amore, is a courageous, provocative work, fraught with dramatic tension and sweeping emotion.

Mondo Amore has its genesis in a time of extreme turbulence for Atkins, a period which saw her parting ways with her former (major) label, while also dealing with the painful, personal end of “a relationship that should’ve ended two years before it actually did” with her long-term boyfriend.

“Things got weird and dark,” she says. “Writing these songs was my way of trying to work out what was happening. I was breaking up with my boyfriend, my original band, and my label, all at the same time.”

Having spent the past few years living in her native Asbury Park, Atkins dealt with these seismic shifts by returning to her adopted home of Brooklyn. Despite the limited resources, she rallied together her many musical friends, and producer Phil Palazzolo (A.C. Newman, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists) offered his services behind the glass.

“Working with Phil has been one of my most favourite experiences,” she says. “I’ll have an idea and he’ll say, ‘Okay, let’s try it.’ Whereas other producers wouldn’t got there. Working with Phil felt like hanging out with my best friend every day.”

Atkins wanted to create a more volatile sound than she had previously attempted, a sonic approach akin to her influences Scott Walker and Nick Cave, whilst also touching on longtime inspirations like the blues, classic 60s psychedelic rock, and the cinematic surreal of David Lynch.

Though it was painful, Atkins is strikingly pragmatic about her relationship’s end, describing the breakup as “dark and sad and sexy, rather than bitter and pissed.” As such, songs like “You Were The Devil” and “War Is Hell” (featuring counterpoint vocals from My Morning Jacket’s Jim James) display a deep range of emotional feedback, with Atkins bravely taking ownership of her own role in the scenario.

The loose collective of musicians who assisted Atkins on Mondo Amore has now morphed into a leaner, meaner backing combo, now dubbed The Black Sea. Comprising Yalkowsky, Kay, and drummer Ezra Oklan, the band has given Atkins still more reason to be enthused about her future.

“This is the best lineup I’ve ever played with,” she says. “It feels like a family, like a band of brothers and sisters.”

An ‘inveterate road warrior’, Atkins is eager to adapt the finely crafted songs of Mondo Amore for the in-your-face directness of live performance.

As its all-encompassing title suggests, Mondo Amore is a big, bold collection, a grandly romantic song cycle fraught with all the passion, anger, tenderness, and devotion of Atkins’ own extraordinary heart.

With acclaimed performances on Later… with Jools Holland and David Letterman’s The Late Show back in 2008, and having hit the road on a huge support tour with The Black Keys in late 2010, Nicole Atkins’ profile could soar dramatically in 2011. Drama, after all, is what she thrives upon.

“Neptune City was a record about my hometown and finding a way out of it. Mondo Amore is a record about heartache and finding a way out of that. It’s songs for people to fuck and fight to.” – Nicole Atkins, 2011

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