Sierra Swan – Queen of the Valley

Sierra Swan - Queen of the Valley

Some mags describe Sierra Swan as LGBT rock. Fools. They’ll say any old thing to fill column inches. She’s a strong alternative woman who sings hard songs wrapped in Jagermeister. If you like the low throated voices of PJ Harvey, Amanda Palmer and Regina Spektor, Sierra might be what you’ve been looking for.

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As everyone knows, it’s not what you do – it’s the way that you do it. And Sierra Swan does her thing in a way that the musical world’s been crying out for.

You could almost call her songs piano-led ballads but they’re not noodling self-important numbers that make you hit fast forward. Each song is its own thing – quirky, punchy and spiky. This is a really dangerous lady.

From ‘Sex is Keeping Us together’ to ‘Nuclear Letdown’, her lyrics are clear, truthful and focused. She sings about liking men more than is good for her, alcoholism, cutting, living too fast before she’s even hit her twenties. Her lyrics are gutsy, but what stands out is her incredibly strong voice, and her ability to write songs with melodic hooks that won’t let you go. Those tunes, those words… they keep you on the edge. There’s no ego-massaging here, just straight point-blank talent.

The Mookychicks listened to Queen of the Valley while they were in a bit of a musical slump, wondering if there was any good music out there that they hadn’t heard yet but would love forever once they did. It’s a really self-indulgent thought, but they were beginning to worry that the music of the world might have run out. Especially because we’d listened Sierra Swan’s debut album Ladyland half to death.

Queen of the Valley restored our faith in music. Finally, we had a new album where we would have to repeat each song 3 or 4 times out of sheer delight before moving onto the next one. It was all we could ask for.

Sierra Swan is a songwriter who knows what she’s doing with her attitude, her strong melodies and with her stirring voice. Tori Amos? Regina Spektor? Amanda Palmer? PJ Harvey, even? Sierra Swan is up there.