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Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division as modern gospel? Hear Diane Birch's take


Soul newcomer Diane Birch had earlier hinted to Pop & Hiss that her next album would be "funky and dark," and apparently she wasn't kidding. Though the Brooklyn-based artist, who honed her skills working hotel bars around Los Angeles, hasn't unleashed a new original yet, her choice of covers on a seven-track EP, to be released next week (Dec. 7) by S-Curve Records, should offer a hint. 

The piano-playing young artist with an old soul tackles the likes of Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnyman and the Cure, among others, giving goth favorites a church-inspired workout. Dubbed "The Velveteen Age," the EP opens with a take on Sisters of Mercy's orchestral-synth staple "This Corrosion," remaking it as a gospel call-and-response. 

Birch was born into a conservative family with a travelling preacher for a father, and though she was surrounded by the songs of the church as a child, she went a darker route when discovering her own music.

"I really rebelled when I was a teenager," Birch told Pop & Hiss last year. "I don’t consider myself particularly rebellious anymore. I’ve been there, done that. But I have discarded a lot of the political things about the religion. I can’t help but be influenced by all the things I have rebelled against. I do use a lot of that lingo, and the way that I talk. I think about angels, even if I don’t believe in it as literally as it was taught to me. You can’t get that out of your head."

Both versions of "This Corrosion" can easily be danced to, but whereas the Sisters of Mercy went for synthesized grandeur, Birch turns it into a musical prayer. Which version, however, is scarier, will have to be decided by you. Listen here or below:

This Corrosion by dianebirch

In addition to "This Corrosion," The Velveteen Age" sees Birch tackling "Kiss Them for Me" (Siouxsie & the Banshees), "Bring on the Dancing Horses" (Echo & the Bunnymen), "Atmosphere" (Joy Division), "Primary" (The Cure), "Tarantula" (This Mortal Coil) and "A Strange Kind of Love" (Peter Murphy). The EP features backing support by New York's the Phenomenal Handclap Band.

-- Todd Martens 

Photo:  Ariel Stark-Benz

Comments () | Archives (9)

amazing cover! really excited to pick up this album on the 7th.


I've been in love with Diane Birch since I first heard her play Johnny B. Goode on her Whirly . . . this version is fantastic . . . can't wait for the EP!

Diane is the most talented young artist in the world! If you have not heard and fallen in love with her and her first album, "Bible Belt," you are really missing something. She is destined to be a huge star!!!

"Bible Belt" palys in my house all the time!

Life is Good. Although I have not tired of Bible Belt or this fabulous artist, I am excited to wait for this new release. New release = New Tour. I'll be there.

WOW! especially considering that my favorite cover version of all time is the Sisters of Mercy turning "Gimme Shelter" into a bass-heavy dirge. Unlike film, popular music is really a place of reinvention and renewal. EXCELLENT!

At 60 years old, I am one of the members of the "Old Farts Who Love Diane Birch Club".

In my teens and mis-spent youth, I was a fan of Laura Nyro's songwriting talents and vocal gift. About a year and a half ago, quite by accident, I stumbled upon Craig Ferguson's late night show and was knocked out by this exciting, refreshing new artist, Diane Birch. She reminded me of seeing Laura Nyro live in a small Washington DC about 40 years ago.

As I recall, this was her first network appearance. That night I mentioned to my wife that I thought we were watching the national debut of a huge new star.

Diane's cover of "This Corrosion" is incredible. I am very anxious to hear all of "The Velveteen Age".

Congratulations Diane!

I too am in the "Old Fart's Club"..... As with Mr. Wilburt, stumbling upon Diane's debut on (all of) the late shows was an eye opening experience. Her down to earth appeal and obvious great musical talent gave me the same feeling as when I watched Alicia Keyes for the first time. I was fortunate to see her perform at The City Winery in NYC last year, and her stage presence was awsome. If she stays true to her heart, she's gonna go far!
Continued best of luck! Hope to see more of your concerts and looking forward to the download.

Crazy good. Having seen SISTERS OF MERCY many times in my bad old goth days this is definitely a trip. What's funny is that it just seems right to have a cover sound like this - this damn good!

I might actually have to buy this. For nostalgia at any rate. All these songs on this EP I loved to one extent or another in their original form. All except for KISS THEM FOR ME - the most annoying Siouxsie song to my mind - and I LOVE Siouxsie.

Hip Hip, Hooray! Diane's sound is sexy, soulful and simply wonderful.

I couldn't be happier for for this talentanted young lady. I'll be counting down the hours waiting to buy the new album.

Come back to Philly Diane - We love you here too!


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