Vera Sola: Five Essential Albums

Vera Sola (photo by Ebru Yildiz, PR)
by Kara Manning | 03/27/2024 | 2:29pm

Vera Sola (photo by Ebru Yildiz, PR)

Vera Sola's second album, Peacemaker, was a four-year process for the Canadian-American songwriter, who recorded it in Nashville, but who is based in Los Angeles.

She neatly braids multiple influences — art-pop, classical, atmospheric rock, and folk — with a streak of melancholy, elevated with humor and honesty. Reference points to forebears, especially those that parallel Sola's theatrical, singular side, crop up in fantastic ways. There's a glimmer of Tom Waits coursing through "Get Wise," while "Bad Idea" simmers with the grand gestures of Jacques Brel; fever dreams are afoot throughout Peacemaker.

A classically-trained pianist, Vera Sola, real name Danielle Aykroyd, released her debut album, Shades, in 2018. She has UK and European tour dates ahead this spring, but before Sola heads overseas, she sent on her "Five Essential Albums" to FUV.

Skip James, Today!
This record changed the way I thought of music. I was a disgruntled punk kid growing up, and when I was around 14, I’d gotten into this habit of only listening to music I thought fit the genre. Then I heard Skip James and I was like, woah,  this is way more hardcore than anything I listen to. On this album, "Crow Jane" was the song that did it. The very definition of haunting.

Elvis Perkins, Ash Wednesday
Elvis is the reason I do what I do, the person I’ve learned the most from. This record is a masterpiece. The lyrics are better than any poetry. I listened to it every morning getting ready for school on a burned CD that I bought from him at one of his earliest shows. I’d later end up playing in his band, and now he plays in mine!

The Distillers, Coral Fang
My favorite band when I was a kid. I love all their records but this is the most “accessible.” Just an incredible melodic sensibility, and a voice like none other.

Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
This one changed my concept of the potential of a sonic landscape. I love tactility, and this is a record you can feel in every joint, with all the ridges of your fingertips. I don’t think I’ll ever make a record without handmade percussion, without using the elements of the building I’m in, the trash that’s hanging around, thanks to this one.

Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté, Ali & Toumani
This is the record that turned me on to Malian music—such an incredibly deep well from which so much has sprung. To hear these two play together, it’s transcendent.

- Vera Sola, March 2024

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