Marissa Nadler grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, where perhaps the brutal winters bred into her a chilly disposition and an early propensity for the darker and more melancholy side of things. Marissa's first appearance saw her covering Pearls Before Swine's Ballad of the Amber Lady for a compilation released by Jeffrey Alexander (The Iditarod, Black Forest/Black Sea) whilst she was still attending the Rhode Island School of Design for Painting. Word of her work on this CD made Marissa Nadler quite known in the underground music scene, she was, after all, in the company of artists such as Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore on this compilation.
Marissaís first LP of home recordings 'Ballads of Living and Dying' (Eclipse Records, 2004) was a release that Pitchfork called "a landscape you may want to get lost in for a century or two," and The Wire called "a beauty."
A second album of home recordings, 'The Saga of Mayflower May', was released the following year, and has garnered the same acclaim as did 'Ballads of Living and Dying', with Pitchfork calling it simply an "enthralling album"
Both albums were released in the UK in early 2005 by Beautiful Happiness Records, meeting the same response overseas as they had in the States, with the Guardian calling Ballads "uncommonly lovely...hard to get out of your head."
It was inevitable that Marissa would rise from the underground to reach a wider audience someday. Her music is dreamy and spectral: an amalgam of traditional folk, paisley underground , shoegaze, and dream pop. Almost all of the songs are very sad, about broken hearts, death, or simple burdens. Her voice is what most people immediately respond to, with the writing and playing yielding a slow burn subtlety. Excelling at a Fahey-esque finger-picking technique, she plays homage to some of the great early American blues players. The Basho like 12 string guitar movements are also quite lovely.
She sings songs of the sea, the haunting chansons of maidens, the cowboy ditties of ranchers, and the funerary processions of mourners. The eerie quality of her atmospheric music gives her songs a timelessness and sadness that is often described as other worldly.
From critical acclaim from sources like Pitchfork, New York's influential Other Music, and the widely respected Wire Magazine, it appears up until now her music has been a widely respected but finely kept secret.
Marissa Nadler released her third official full length record, in February 2007 on Peacefrog Records and has since recorded a further album entitled 'Little Hells'.