VIDEO REVIEW: Marissa Nadler “Firecrackers”

Marissa Nadler

Though it was released back in February, Marissa Nadler’s stunning sixth album July (on Sacred Bones/Bella Union) is very much rooted in the month it was named for. As she explained during an interview with AudioFemme, the record deals specifically with her personal experiences, lived from July of 2012 when her romantic relationship dissolved as she self-destructed, through her regret and pain to a place of healing and rekindling lost love in July 2013. The record’s emotional centerpiece, “Firecrackers,” deals with that fallout and subsequent recovery with stoic grace, its simple guitar chords nonchalantly lilting around what sounds like a dead-eyed challenge to unnamed “attackers” – it’s me, it’s me, it’s me you’re lookin’ for – but, for Nadler, was more of an admission of guilt on her own part for the troubles she found herself in back then.

Just in time for Independence Day, Nadler has released a haunting, black-and-white clip directed by Ryan Hamilton Walsh. Over the brutal opening lines July Fourth of last year / We spilled all the blood / How’d you spend your summer days? Nadler’s ghostly image performs destructive, if inconsequential actions – smashing glass bottles, throwing her guitar to the forest floor, pouring water from buckets. Everything happens in rewind, the grainy footage recalling home videos, or how we might imagine our memories would look if others could view them. The symbolism lies in Nadler “undoing” her ruinous behavior, and as the clip progresses, overlays of oozing liquid wash away her pointless sins and obscure her devious past. We’ve all been the kid sticking a bottle rocket in our neighbor’s mailbox, and we’ve all been the adult committing crimes we felt were victimless that lead to our own demise. Nadler puts the two on par by juxtaposing the innocuous imagery in the “Firecrackers” video with her real, lived experience in the song’s lyrical content, reminding us that no matter how calamitous our lives, there is no rewinding or rewriting history – all that’s left is to forge ahead.

Marissa Nadler heads to Europe in the fall; she’ll be playing throughout the US this month (see dates below).

Jul 8 – Rock N Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
Jul 9 – Pinhook – Durham, NC
Jul 10 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
Jul 12 – The Beatnik – New Orleans, LA
Jul 13 – Holy Mountain – Austin, TX
Jul 14 – City Tavern – Dallas, TX
Jul 15 – White Water Tavern – Little Rock, AR
Jul 16 – The Stone Fox – Nashville, TN
Jul 17 – Mike N Molly’s – Champaign, IL
Jul 18 – Rumba Café – Columbus, OH
Jul 19 – Cattivo – Pittsburgh, PA
Jul 20 – The Ballroom at Outer Space – New Haven, CT
Aug 1 – Northern Routes Festival – New Salem, MA

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