A starkly beautiful collection of dark avant-folk wanderings that can be eerily quiet and breathtakingly beautiful, Songs For Creeps mirrors the nomadic lifestyle of its maker. Known to sleep overnight in flop houses and trailer parks during long stretches of time on the road, Annelle's inspiration comes from places even creeps fear to tread. Utilizing vintage equipment and instruments, found sounds like bird calls and ghostly Native American chanting, and her own sweet voice, Annelle crafts wonderfully weird, macabre songs about fading love, murderous intentions, seers and midnight explorations of abandoned sanatoriums. Tender acoustic passages like 'I¹m A-Gone Down to the Green Fields' play off the dream-like reverie and menace of 'My Weary Eye', while 'The Lion's Share', recorded in a one-room country shack, and 'Blessed Steed' are immersed in rustic dobro guitar stylings. The bastard child of P.J. Harvey and Tom Waits, Annelle is as adept at composing elegant country songs (the drifting 'Gold to Green') as she is at folk melancholy (the sweeping 'The Damn Insane Asylum'). She¹s a talent to watch.” - Peter Linblad

Goldmine

Underground troubadour Amy Annelle’s well-documented penchant for recording in abandoned buildings might make for good stories. But like the subtle electronic flourishes and found sounds she folds into her fourth album as the Places (and sixth overall), her unusual working methods serve as mere enhancements for a limpid voice and skill set deeply rooted in traditional folk and country values. Still, the Portland, Oregon, native’s scrap-yard Americana consistently eschews the tried-and-true. “A lady lives next to me / She has some family,” Annelle twangs on the parlor waltz “Mercy Me,” as sweetly as any Nashville Pollyanna could aspire to. “Herdaughter’s ashamed of her / Stays half an hour on Christmas and her birthday.” The singer-songwriter’s narrative is compelling enough that you might not notice the gongs, drones and organ buttressing her guitar and vocals. Even during overtly adventurous moments, as on “The Natural Arc,” Annelle keeps all her resources (including the handful of confederates who helped make Songs for Creeps) working in the service of Songs. Electronic rumbles, a vintage drum machine or two, a well-placed ratchet—all are subsumed in a prog-pastoralist vortex of charm... When Annelle sings “A glorious dawn is descending,” the soar-and-swoop is reason enough to go and buy everything she’s ever recorded. The distant doppelgänger response that follows her only sweetens the deal.” - Rod Smith

TimeOut NY

The Places' songwriter Amy Annelle has taken her music in a whole new direction with the dark experimental folk of Songs for Creeps. Almost all of the chosen selections for the evening were taken from the newest album, featuring plenty of loud bursts of disjointed drumming and distorted guitar interspersed with long bouts of Annelle's haunting, atmospheric vocals. She has definitely entered a less accessible or under appreciated realm of songwriters, but has also pushed the boundaries of what could be considered folk music by integrating aspects that are more common in noise and experimental music” - Bryan Parker

Urban Pollution--live show review

Amy Annelle’s music is haunted. You don’t need to be a psychic to tell this from her albums, which she releases both under her name and as the Places. Last year’s Songs for Creeps is aswim in spirits: A detached male voice opens the album, asking, “Are you there? Hello, hellooo…”; in “My Weary Eye,” one of the record’s more moving pieces, a Native American chant buried deep in the mix calls across the divide to underscore already weighty lyrics: “I know what’s waiting in these amber-colored octaves.… It’s what’s kept in my graveyard / A thousand bodies buried and no marker.” The ghosts on Annelle’s records are literal; onstage they’re figurative, yet their presence is equally strong. A folksinger in the truest sense, Annelle and her high, lonesome, pretty voice seem to be from no particular time—more like many of them at once. Resembling someone who might’ve been hopping trains with Woody Guthrie, she transmits ages of American troubadour traditions in her performances. But if one of her roles is as a medium, it’s hardly a passive feat; the songs she covers come from and go in all directions. A recent compilation of them, Fawns with Fangs, includes selections by Bert Jansch, Elliott Smith, the Pretty Things and Syd Barrett, and at her last NYC show, an inspired reading of the folk classic “Blues Run the Game” invoked the essence of the original while flinging the song into the here and now. No need to fear these ghosts, though; just celebrate them.” - Mike Wolf

TimeOut New York

Perpetually touring Oregon-via-Texas singer-songstress Amy Annelle (a/k/a the Places) has rearranged the furniture on her newest, Songs For Creeps...she stomps via fuzzy acoustic blues, often woozy and mellow but sometimes sparking like a weirder, druggier Folk Implosion. A great voice and a dexterous tunesmith.” - Sean Bosler

Village Voice--TOP 5 LIVE MUSIC EVENTS

For those who know Amy Annelle by the vast company she’s kept, “Songs For Creeps”, her sixth overall and fourth as the Places, may come as some surprise. With her standard band compliment stripped away, Annelle explores this oddball set of twisted folk tunes with the assistance of a handful of friends, chief among them Glass Eye bassist and producer Brian Beattie. Some of “Songs For Creeps” was recorded at Annelle’s Portland, Oregon home and the remainder by Beattie at his Wonder Chamber in Austin, Texas, but all of it features Annelle’s intersection of Gillian Welch’s Appalacian authenticity, Janis Ian’s confessional folk and and Tom Waits’ cross-genre bravado...Annelle is a brilliant desert troubadour with a dark and compelling vision.” - Brian Baker

— Amplifier Magazine

Strange and not a little disturbing lo-fi americana “Miner’s Lie”, the opening track on “Songs for Creeps”, is a jagged and discordant lo-fi homebrew (“below the welded iron crosses oh!/ the miners lie/waiting for you to die”) that promises an album of disturbing and challenging music. And so it transpires, and not only that, it’s one of the few albums that can genuinely be called unique. Recorded in strange places, on primitive equipment including 4 track cassette and with strange instruments (among them fake flute, pinewood diddle bow and raagini) it sometimes feels more like a collection of found sounds than an album. Amy Annelle’s breathy vocals (for the Places are she) flutter over the top, intoning strange snapshots of vision, where torn-off bird wings and abandoned insane asylums rub shoulders with a man made out of glass and seven magnitudes of stars go out. It’s the soundtrack to a desert night in a one horse town, with a neon motel sign that stutters on and off and life is not so much seen as glimpsed out of the corner of your eye. The odd track is more musically conventional, like the desert blues of “Blessed Speed” and the rurally folky “I’m A-Gone Down To the Green Fields”, but even then the lyrics are still dark and skewed. Annelle has a strange vision, she sees places and people differently, and it’s this not-quite-right-ness, this slightly off-focus-ness, that makes “Songs For Creeps” such a compelling listen.” - Jeremy Searle

Americana UK

The word "folk" is often tossed about when describing Amy Annelle's music, presumably because the acoustic guitar is such a dominant instrument and because her poetic lyrics don't fit within any sort of easy pop categorization. However, such a label doesn't take into account the surreal atmospheres and haunting textures that loom throughout her music, which is as ambient and spacious as that from any proper "ambient" musician. Annelle's songs encapsulate entire tiny little worlds of sound, conjuring up dim images of broken down places and darkened rooms pregnant with memory and longing. Field recordings, samples, broken snippets of conversation, and radio and television footage add to these images, creating lived-in spaces where the inhabitants have since packed up and moved on, leaving behind spiritual and emotional debris that Annelle then slowly picks through and documents. Songs For Creeps is Annelle's 6th solo disc, and the 4th under The Places moniker, and though it starts off on a rollicking, raucous note, it soon settles into Annelle's typical eerie hush. Waves of crackling static, tape hiss, and the distant sounds of Native American chanting and fiery sermons immediately remove "My Weary Eye" from reality, instead positing it into some darkened parallel world -- a world that small children sometimes stumble into as they make their way through darkened rooms, rooms full of shadows and pools of inky night that may hide danger or wonder, but which nevertheless beg to be explored. Sometimes ghosts are summoned by Annelle's otherworldly music. As she sings "I've seen the holes burned into these walls/By the eyes of the lonely/Who've long ago given up calling for mercy/Oh mercy me", the organ comes wheezing alongside, sighing like those broken souls of whom Annelle sings. Annelle's lyrics show a remarkable eye for detail, picking up on those fragments that communicate her subjects' brokenness ("A lady lives next to me/She has some family/Her hair is still blond, though her body has softened/Her daughter's ashamed of her/Stays half an hour on Christmas and her birthday"). The gorgeous, golden lilt of a lap steel glides through "Gold To Green", and a little sunlight pierces the album's sunset haze. Annelle's quivering voice is as breathy as ever, possessing a certain longing heartache as she sings an ode to autumn's coming ("September is but a half-month/Just time enough to sweetly wave goodbye to lives lived by golden hours on lovers' isles"). The song ends with Annelle pleading "Stay with me my faded angel/We'll turn the leaves from gold to green/This is no time to take your leave/The sun can live inside/Stay...", the lap steel responding with its lovely tones. Even when Annelle isn't arresting you with her lyrics, the music is always enthralling, with acoustic guitars and backing atmospherics drifting by on even such choppy tracks as "The Natural Arc". But more often than not, she's hitting you between the eyes with such poigant nuggets as "The Damn Insane Asylum", which finds several restless types trying to find an abandoned insane asylum, but instead finding "a planned community from the seventies/An unclimbable wall around where the asylum wreck should be". But it's not just about urban sprawl. The metaphor also serves to describe her characters, restless people courted by sex and cocaine, people with pristine exteriors but hiding "quietly rotting shame and misery". Such a dramatic turn could be ponderous and fall on its face, but Annelle's downwards-spiralling guitars and keys make it as graceful as can be. And the field recordings that fill up the song's spaces, and which linger on after the song is done, suggest that there are still wide open places of mystery out there, just waiting to be rediscovered and explored by such unique, sensitive, and beguiling songwriters as Annelle.”

Opus

The Places are a dark, backwoods folk group featuring the voice and songwriting of Amy Annelle. Her lo-fi, atmospheric recordings are produced with help from Brian Beattie, and are largely homemade. The instrumentation is mostly traditional with lap steel and dobro. But Annelle sweetens the mix with haunting harmonies, drum loops and eerie, distant voices, creating the sense that something very, very bad is lurking beneath the surface” - Robin Hilton

NPR

Amy Annelle, the singer, songwriter, and sole permanent member of the Places, traffics in narcotic dream-folk cut with aleatoric noise. Sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by a revolving cast of musicians, she makes music both sordid and soothing, deadpan parables and sour lullabies inspired by the haunted places that she passes through between tour stops. On ‘Songs For Creeps’, Annelle sings about buried miners and speed-freak angels, lonely flophouses and unmarked graves. She harmonizes with herself on the gospel “Blessed Speed.” She can do a straight-up murder ballad (”My Weary Eye”), as well as an animalistic take on the same (”The Lion’s Share”). “The Damn Insane Asylum” sounds as if she’s singing from inside a dream through the use of a telephone microphone as she seems to equate nostalgia with insanity. An impressive listen from start to finish, ‘Songs For Creeps’ fits somewhere between Jenny Lewis’s recent solo effort and Bob Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited’.” - Benny

RegnYouth

Last year's Songs for Creeps was a dramatic exit from her Hush Records days...Creeps is, well, creepy at times, as it shuffles about like a cursed spirit, a doomed voice lost in a void of dead air and negative space” - Ezra Ace Caraeff

Portland Mercury

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