"At her most playful, Ali Wesley strikes her listeners with an Amelie-esque sense of wonder, delivering songs like "da da da da da" that almost seem written on the spot. Which isn't a far cry, as each song on new album "the ups" was recorded in a single day (and sometimes in the front seat of a Honda Accord). Other songs, like the breathy "Walking Underground," feel deep and rewarding despite the aforementioned one-day rule...."
At KZME - listen online at http://podcast.kzme.fm
Wesley wears her long blond hair loose, accented by bright cherry-red-framed glasses, a baby doll red shirt over jeans and red-toed shoes. Her first number is a “sad song”—a small dancer pulled from the stage by a parent seems to punctuate that announcement with tears of frustration. Wesley’s banter with the audience gives a sense of her playfulness and humor as fellow songstress Crystin Byrd joins her for a duet: their voices blend nicely. Wesley’s vocals are sweet, slightly overshadowed by the crowd, the small-room acoustics, and, quite possibly, feedback from the mic. She has moments of pure passion as she sings “I just can’t seem to leave you”; her sense of humor is evident as she connects with the audience again to admit she’s about to play a new song, in fact “just wrote this last week,” and that she may have committed a faux pas by using her own name in the song. But what the heck, she wrote it. Another line sticks out to locals as being pure Portland: “Torched your bridges in a town of rivers.” Wesley’s guitar accompaniment is skillful and harmonic, but the real fun comes at the end of her set: Wesley, perching her bright pink (vintage Barbie???) keyboard on a chair, kneels before it and hammers out a punky little tune -- keyboard and tambourine players join in -- to sing the Blah Blah song. "You know the chorus 'Blah, Blah, Blah…'" The small dancer joined her once again to finish out the set.
Sweet-voiced songstress Ali Wesley manages to pull off the improbable on her debut album, “All Things (My Two Fish),” delivering a record that’s sweet and fragile and gritty all at the same time.
Wesley’s voice and the delicate, stripped-down arrangements draw you in like a sleeping puppy in a pet store window, but her words can sting as well as soothe.
In her musical world, crushing loss, ecstatic joy and the complexity of everyday living all are exquisitely beautiful things.
"A recent press release for tonight's pairing of local ladies—Super XX Man's Ali Wesley and Heroes and Villains' Ali Ippolito—called the evening "The Night of the Ali Sandwich" (singer-songwriter Jack Elder comes on in the middle). I can't decide whether that's gross or sexy, but I can tell you that Ippolito leans toward parlor-style piano pop with creepy undertones, and Wesley sounds as if she floated down from heaven on a folk-pop cloud. The night also marks the Alberta Street Pub's sixth anniversary, so there's plenty of reason to come out and get your drink (and ménage à trois) on."
WW Pick - Shoeshine Blue, Ali Wesley, Jack Elder
I'm not sure if this roundup of Portland folksters is set to include Lennon covers or choirs of children led by stigmatized Asian girlfriends, but it's being billed as "So This Is Christmas." Covers aside, some originals should be in store as well, and all three acts delight in different ways. From opener Jack Elder's gentle, grunge-affected singer-songwriter fare—which doesn't skimp on the Enigk-like drama or femmy vocals—to the cute ’n’ clever folk pop of Elder's gal, Ali Wesley (also of Super XX Man). Finish the night off with a bourbon nog and a dose of Shoeshine Blue's creepy blues-folk-country mélange (imagine Andrew Bird and a lovely female ghost singing at an old bluesman's funeral), and, well, it is Christmas after all. AMY MCCULLOUGH.
Let me start off by saying that I’m not a huge fan of girl-with-guitar type stuff, but Ali Wesley is a freaking angel. She must be. I mean, have you heard her voice? Well, if you listen to NPR’s “All Songs Considered” or attend Live Wire! or if you saw this video–basically, if you’ve ever heard Super XX Man’s “Collecting Rocks”–then you’ve heard Ali Wesley. She (or her voice, at least) plays the female role in “Collecting Rocks,” Super XX Man’s lovely, somewhat cautionary tale of lifelong romance. And that voice, my friends, is the definition of angelic.
Wesley’s now employing that wonderment of vocality to her own songs, and the result is often stunning. “The World I Adore”–one of the strongest tracks on her upcoming debut, All Things (My Two Fish)–is, according to her a MySpace, a plea for the common knowledge we often take for granted (or, at least that’s what I took from Wesley’s blog about her songs’ meanings).
Besides the simple, positive message, though, “The World I Adore” is just plain pretty. Over crisp acoustic guitar, Wesley sings in her clear, affecting way, “I need help from the world/ I need help from the world I adore.” It’s not at all cheesy, and the breathy high note she hits on the second to last refrain of the chorus is downright precious (in a good way). Perhaps most impressive, though, is the way Wesley always makes angelic sound so damn easy.
While her earliest material was stark and suited for the waning hours of an open mic coffeehouse session, Alison Wesley's excellent new album, All Things (My Two Fish), glistens with the playful pop sheen of a youthful Regina Spektor. Her lively songs and innocent voice, especially on the drum machine-backed "Blah Blah," propel her far beyond the rigid world of solo singer/songwriters. Her record is out today, so line Wesley's pockets with some cash, as it's the best purchase you'll make in a while.
[DARLING POP] Ali Wesley has the voice of an angel. It's simple, pure, elegant. And her debut full-length, All Things (My Two Fish), would have you believe she's got the disposition of one, too. From the opening track, she sings darling folk-pop ballads about love, love, love. But that's only if you scratch the surface; amid all that mushiness lie stories of regret, imperfection, uneasiness and (gasp!) sex.
But the purely lovey material—some of the tracks are truly wholesome—is quite good in its own right. "And" describes how it feels to have a guardian angel over simple, brushed drums and acoustic guitar: "I accelerate through all the lights/ And I'm not scared." It's undeniably sappy, but Wesley's conviction—and her knack for infectious melodies—make it more charming than cloying. Likewise, "Blah Blah," though rooted in a potentially nauseating concept (that it's taboo to say "I love you" in a song), comes off clever. It starts with a drum-machine beat reminiscent of Ben Gibbard's early, lo-fi work as All-American Quarterback, which Wesley beefs up with a backdrop of synthesized organ, acoustic guitar and dainty, staccato backing vocals. Again, the whole thing is very sweet, but her explanations ("This language we've got has its pros and it cons/ And it's too bad there's only one way") make you smile more than cringe.
Wesley's good-girl facade is spoiled completely—thankfully—about two-thirds of the way through, though, by the darkly sensual "Love at You." Over minor, picked guitar, Wesley (who also plays drums and sings in local folk-pop band Super XX Man) says, "I hike up my skirt/ I have no pride." Later in the same song, she uses her divine voice to describe tying someone to a garden post to make sure they "stay." And "That Bridge," with its creepy cadence and sinister refrain of "You'll die on that bridge," adds a welcome dose of poison to Wesley's honey.
Earlier in the album during a shout-out (in title only) to Nico, Wesley even claims, "I was your creamiest dream" and outlines a guilt complex on the vaguely bluesy "Chelsea Girl." But, even when Wesley's lyrics betray her angelic voice, she still sings of love above all else. And Wesley seems to believe that love's a tangible thing: As she croons on "And," "You love me/ And I can hold that in my hands"—spoken like a true angel.