Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 24, 2010
Michelle AnthonyTornadoes (Merctwyn)
Is there a singer-songwriter in Austin more under-the-radar than Michelle Anthony? The Milwaukee transplant's third disc, Tornadoes, is her first in four years due to motherhood – times two – and the development of HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening illness she fought after her first child's birth. Time and trauma have served Anthony's music well as she's developed a mature pop sound that carries echoes of Aimee Mann and Sara Hickman, all lofty hooks and keen observations. With musical backing including Band of Heathens drummer John Chipman and Robbie Fulks' guitarist Grant Tye, Anthony weaves a bright, winning spell on tunes like the speedy set opener "Spare Me" and potent kiss-off "Don't Deny." Her recent harrowing experience is faced down with radiant anthem "Beautiful" and the airy title track. Anthony's tendency to be cloying in spots might turn off some ears, but Tornadoes' strengths bring her out of the shadows.