It was a strange confluence of events: On Tuesday, L.A. quartet PAPA released its ballyhooed debut album “Tender Madness” to some (well-deserved) fanfare. That same day – via the same label, Loma Vista – brought the release of the debut EP by the singer-songwriter who playfully modeled for the cover of PAPA’s first release, “A Good Woman Is Hard to Find.” Which would be Vanessa Long, who makes music as Cillie Barnes. Her “Happy Valley” EP, though, will be her only release for Loma Vista, as the label and the artist have parted ways. But its five songs serve as tantalizing introduction to Long, once upon a time a member of the band Family of the Year. She writes couplets like a rapper and chews them like a jazz singer, while her playful melodies place Cillie Barnes squarely in the pop realm. The EP boasts two songs that have become staples of our playlists – “Hey Hi,” originally teased in late 2011, and this year’s “Brainwash,” for our money one of the best songs of the year. Where Cillie Barnes will go from here is anyone’s guess – last spring [pictured above at the Echo], she performed in a stripped down environment, but recent shows have Long fronting a full-on rock band. Whichever, we’ll be listening.
||| Stream: “Veranda”
||| Reposting: “Brainwash”
||| Live: Cillie Barnes performs next weekend as part of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ Big Top at Los Angeles State Historic Park.