an artist makes from punk beginnings to more complicated crafts is fascinating
to hear. Anita Lofton makes the trek with the Anita Lofton
Formerly of punk trio Sistas in the Pit, the talented guitarist and
singer-songwriter gave up her wah-wah, smallstone and rat pedals for greater
things. With her former Sistas she toured China and Europe, and took an
infamous national tour supporting a certain James “Iggy Pop” Osterberg and the Stooges during that band's reunion in 2007. She claims to have “traded in her Marshall half
stack and Epiphone semi hollow body casino for a microphone and an Epiphone
acoustic guitar,” yet she’s got the rock in her blood. With Anita’s new minimal
and acoustic approach she expresses a new direction in songwriting that is as
candid, earnest, cool and assertive while seeking greater understanding of
others and cloaking sentiment in attitude.
first track Anita sent to me was “I Can’t Understand,” a lover's spat set to
strings. “I am up
and you are down / I need to plant my feet on the ground / It’s alright, it’s
okay / I got you, hold on tight / it’ll be alright ‘cause I got you / something is
comin’ and I feel like I’m out of reach / something is comin’ and I feel like I’m
out to sea.”
end of “sea” she echoes the ee sound twice. It's a subtly pensive and vulnerable
moment within a song where her mood is a tough-as-nails assertion of the self
amid shaking and quarrelsome waters. The compelling antinomies of her verse
continue on the second track I received called “I’ll Let You Down.” She stirs a build up beginning with her kinetic/poetic verse.
third track “Naw Naw” showcases Anita’s eclectic homage to Iggy through a “No
Fun” salute. A song that thrives on a punky blues progression while keeping
things chill and minimal, including a wise and responsive violin that sounds straight
out of the shtetle!
The Anita Lofton Project is accomplished with
the help of friends from prestigious musical backgrounds. Wanika Stephens was born to the founders of the Jazz Church of John Coltrane,
is the bassist for San Francisco quintet Ohnedaruth and hosts “Uplift” on KPOO.
Zhalisa Clarke is a classically trained violinist who has been in both the Harvard-Radcliffe
and the Brooklyn Symphony orchestras and shares the group’s affection for
building its blueprints from the roots of jazz on up. Anita’s transformation
from punk idol to jazz muse I can only compare to hearing Richard Hell’s “Time,” in which he shows the rich Rickenbacker-jangle side to his punk ego. In an even
greater departure, Anita draws out new varieties of sounds and acoustic instrumentations
to convey larger expressions of greater meanings.