(New Orleans, LA)
A self-described “moody little pain in the ass who writes songs about drinking,” this itinerant iconoclast has been compared to “Tom Waits on helium” and “Ella Fitzgerald beating the **** out of Regina Spektor.” With hands like Jelly Roll Morton and a voice like Rickie Lee Jones after a whiskey-gargling session, Nilles floors audiences from the Bowery to Berlin with her deft, ruthless barrelhouse punk.
You'd like to see Jim Jarmusch film the story of her life: a highly accomplished, award-winning young pianist with a degree in classical performance and the whole world ahead of her chucks it all over to eke out a bohemian living playing punk clubs and sleeping in her car. Nilles credits the 2004 U.S. Presidential elections for catalyzing her decision, and she is a protest singer, in a way, although there's more George Carlin in her than Billy Bragg. Her compositions are often dizzyingly witty. They're also by turns brutally honest, painfully funny, and as bawdy as a hip-hop CDR bought from the trunk of a car. Writing truthful and poignant stories of the world as it is, Nilles is the kind of “pain in the ass” that the world desperately needs more of.