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Rabbit Quinn Channels Tori Amos At Red Rock

In Music
Wild Hare: Rabbit Quinn, née Leila Motaei, spins an ‘eerie, dark and beautiful bedtime story’ on her album, ‘Lost Children.’

Wild Hare: Rabbit Quinn, née Leila Motaei, spins an ‘eerie, dark and beautiful bedtime story’ on her album, ‘Lost Children.’

The cover of Rabit Quinn’s debut album, Lost Children, may look wholesomely vintage—with Quinn dolled up like a Sailor Jerry’s girl in big curls and a flute dress, cradling an adorable baby goat. But the frayed edges of the photo, the dilapidated house in the background, the tight-lipped gaze on the young girl’s face reveal the truth of the matter: We are not in for a swingin’ time.

Lost Children is a haunting record, replete with bleeding-heart vocals set to intense and lush piano. It’s an altogether eerie, dark and beautiful bedtime story—that sounds like a long-lost Tori Amos album.

Still, while Quinn—Leila Motaei by day—certainly bears a resemblance to some of the female musicians and songwriters who have paved the way for her, the UC Davis music student isn’t a mimeograph. Quinn’s recordings stand up on their own. They are powerful, meticulously arranged, and have all the stick-to-your-ribs infectiousness every pop record needs to survive.

Not to mention, Quinn is as resourceful and independent as they come. Lost Children was born of her personal savings of $10,000 and a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $3,000 to press, release, and promote the record, which she released in 2012. Recently, Quinn has been popping up in small venues around the Bay Area with her two bandmates—Grammy-nominated drummer Scott Amendola and veteran-virtuoso bassist Mike Sugar.

Quinn is known for her live show—which is said to be theatrical (but not campy, as Amos can sometimes be). On her most heartfelt and powerful track, “Chanticleer,” Quinn sets herself apart with a little growl and grit in the chorus, perhaps an attempt to wake herself from a nightmare of burning houses and the dead coming to life. There is this robust air of empowerment around the song, about how we can rise as warriors with the sun to escape the horrors of the night.

Lost Children’s title track paints the classic portrait of escape—of a runaway catching a bus and never coming back, and then finding there wasn’t anything waiting for them on the other side. The album’s themes are indeed bleak, but the energy behind the music couldn’t be called a downer. What seems to come through loudest is her ability to evoke a flood of emotion, giving the listener a sense of witnessing something sacred, intimate and somewhat tortured.

Rabbit Quinn plays Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View on Feb. 20 at 8pm. More info.

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