When Kathleen Hanna talks, people tend to listen. And recently, she’s been talking a lot about Cannonball Jane. So much, in fact, that she’s asked Ms. Cannonball (Sharon Hagopian by day) to open for her own little band.  In addition, she’s rocked out with the likes of Gravy Train!!, Lesbians on Ecstasy, Les Sans Culottes, My Favorite, and a bunch more. So what’s all the fuss about, you ask?

            First of all, for a one woman act, Cannonball Jane has all the bases covered. She sings, samples, and plays both the flute and synth. Can we get any more impossibly ambidextrous? Fun fact: She’s also an elementary school music teacher. At first listen, one may be inclined to believe that what they’re hearing is the work of several amazing misfit DJ’s who haven’t seen the light of day in about 8 months with the guiding voice of a fantastic female singer. I bet Cannonball Jane could do her taxes, eat a 4 course dinner, and ride a motorcycle all at the same time. But I digress.

            Her music is fluid and seamless, glued together by her surprising sweet voice. But not sweet like what-is-this-Splenda-doing-in-my-coffee sweet. More like an honest, intelligent, sugar in the raw sweet. She definitely has a sound that you can dance your face off to and not have a terrible headache later. Her debut, “Street Vernacular” is poppy, dancey, and totally fun.

            “Slumber Party” is relatively mellow and vaguely reminiscent of Ladytron. Only less scary. The vocals are echo-y and the track, as a whole, has a certain dream-like quality to it. And are those wind chimes I hear in the background? Perhaps a xylophone? Synths are magnificent things, they are.

            “Hey! Hey! Alright!” is a bit more uppity with fast flowing vocals and a catchy chorus. One thing you may notice about Cannonball Jane’s songs is that they don’t tend to be as long as the work of most DJ’s. Meaning, a 15 minute long breakdown of the same bass beat is refreshingly absent from her roster. Not that I would mind longer CB Jane songs, though.

            “Take it to Fantastic” is an unreleased song that, as of right now, is my absolute favorite. I don’t know if it’s the cool-sounding breakdowns or the Run DMC-esque bells, but it’s truly an instant pick-me-up. Pick-me-up to get on down, that is.

            Cannonball Jane recently finished playing a few random dates around the East coast, most recently at the Delancey in NYC. But don’t fret if you missed her, I’m certain she’ll return for more. Until then, you may check out her website at www.cannonballjane.com. Once you do, don’t be surprised if Cannonball Jane blows you away. That’s right. I said it.

Northeast In Tune - August 2005