The wonderful thing about split singles like this very limited edition 7″ – only 150 copies in circulation in Europe – is the chance to hear apparently disparate artists covering each other’s songs. For those unfamiliar with My Brightest Diamond, where have you been? Get acquainted immediately. For those unfamiliar with Dayna Kurtz, over the past decade the New York resident has established a reputation for herself as a throaty alto poet of repute, her songs arty and bursting with an enviable lyricism, meaningful yet accessible in a similar vein to latter-day Neko Case. Her most recent album American Standard, her fourth, has yet to receive a European release but what we’ve heard is reliably excellent.
Trying to trace back a connection between Dayna and MBD’s Shara Worden, we came across a wonderful Kurtz cover of ‘Thanksgiving Moon’ by DM Stith, who worked with Worden on her debut album Bring Me The Workhorse and has since remixed the follow-up, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. Clearly, Dayna has some impressive interpretive skills, and these are put to good use once again on ‘Gone Away’. Originally an enchantingly delicate ballad from Workhorse, she takes it to a rootsier, spookier place with twanging banjo and a gruff yet melodious vocal that’s worlds away from Shara’s pirouetting operatics. For her part, Worden takes the title track from Kurtz’s 2002 debut and swaddles its heartfelt simplicity in sensitively textured electronics, guitars and drums, making it very recognisably her own.
Hand numbered and supplied with a lyric sheet, this 7″ is a must for fans of either artist, and for anyone who professes an interest in the beauty of exchanged ideas. Get in there quick!
Also out this week: