Johanna and the Dusty Floor
by David Chiu
New York-based singer Johanna Cranitch has a jazz music background, but you really couldn’t detect that upon listening to her new album, Northern Lights, under the moniker Johanna and the Dusty Floor. The sound on Cranitch’s record seems to draw inspiration from the likes of Kate Bush for its poetic and atmospheric feel. (Not surprisingly, Cranitch also covers Bush’s classic song “Cloudbusting.”) Accompanied by Cranitch’s soulfully wistful and yearning voice, the songs on Northern Lights possess sound quite dreamy (“Heavy Heart,” the very New Wave-ish “Please Don’t Go”) with a dash of subtle tension (the title track). Somewhat of a departure from the current flash and spectacle nature of music these days, Northern Lights strikes a successful balance between art rock and melodic pop.
It seems that Cranitch was destined to be where she is now as far as music is concerned. Hailing from Sydney, she was born to an Irish/Australian pianist-father and a Hungarian mother. Later, Cranitch studied jazz at the Australian Institute of Music and then arrived to New York with the goal of becoming a recording engineer. Last year she released her EP The Forest—in a review, PopMatters says about the recording: “There’s also a certain vibe to the songs on this album that recalls Christine McVie, not just in songwriting style, but in that Cranitch shares a seemingly deep Contralto vocal range with the Fleetwood Mac singer at times.”
With the release of the full-length coming up later this month, Johanna and the Dusty Floor will perform two New York City shows, first at The Living Room on May 5, and then Rockwood Music Hall on May 24. NewBeats had a chance to talk with Cranitch about how she got started in music, the new album and her arrival to New York. Continue reading “Interview: Johanna and the Dusty Floor”