"You can sing me something sweetly’ is the song’s hook – and precisely what Anthony does, with lilting vocals and life-embracing lyrics.”
– Holly George-Warren, MORE Magazine

"One of the best Austin albums released in 2010."
–Austin Music + Entertainment

"Time and trauma have served Anthony’s music well as she’s developed a mature pop sound that carries echoes of Aimee Mann and Sara Hickman, all lofty hooks and keen observations."
–Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle

“In sharp contrast to the title of the album, her music is a discriminate, precise whirlwind that leaves a path of beauty in its wake."
–Jon M. Gilbertson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Tornadoes" (2010)


Editor’s Pick, Dec 2010/Jan 2011
Songs Worth The 99 Cents
“You can sing me something sweetly’ is the song’s hook – and precisely what Anthony does, with lilting vocals and life-embracing lyrics.” – Holly George-Warren

Is there a singer-songwriter in Austin more under-the-radar than Michelle Anthony? The Milwaukee transplant’s third disc, Tornadoes, is her first in four years due to motherhood – times two – and the development of HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening illness she fought after her first child’s birth. Time and trauma have served Anthony’s music well as she’s developed a mature pop sound that carries echoes of Aimee Mann and Sara Hickman, all lofty hooks and keen observations. With musical backing including Band of Heathens drummer John Chipman and Robbie Fulks’ guitarist Grant Tye, Anthony weaves a bright, winning spell on tunes like the speedy set opener “Spare Me” and potent kiss-off “Don’t Deny.” Her recent harrowing experience is faced down with radiant anthem “Beautiful” and the airy title track. Anthony’s tendency to be cloying in spots might turn off some ears, but Tornadoes’ strengths bring her out of the shadows. – Jim Caligiuri

As much as one misses the presence of Michelle Anthony in the Milwaukee music scene since she decamped for Austin in 2005, the move has been good for her. Her second solo album, 2006′s “Frozenstarpalace,” was an artistic step up, and her third, “Tornadoes,” continues the soft, sure ascent.

Not unlike her previous work, these 10 songs radiate a sense of warmth inside a surrounding atmosphere of chilliness: perhaps a partial reflection of her time in Milwaukee and her upbringing in Kansas City, but more an expression of a voice that has the still center of Sarah McLachlan and the hesitant, raw emotion of Aimee Mann.

With confident versatility, Anthony touches on instrumentally crowded pop-rock (“Spare Me”), maternally loving piano-based balladry (“Permanent”) and brooding, biting introspection (“Lights of Chicago”).

In sharp contrast to the title of the album, her music is a discriminate, precise whirlwind that leaves a path of beauty in its wake.- Jon M. Gilbertson

Attractive female pop singers are a dime a dozen in the music industry, so it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Michelle Anthony knows this, of course, which is why Tornadoes works so much better than many of the releases by Anthony’s less-iconoclastic contemporaries. The album eschews the MIDI-overproduction that kill most modern pop albums for a rich collection of instruments and sounds, all buoyed by Anthony’s smoky, far-ranging voice.

“Spare Me” is a swaggering opening number that melds razor-toothed, distorted guitars, effusive shaker percussion and numerous, cascading Michelle-on-Anthony harmonies. The finale of the track is an eruption of slide guitar that feels a little like Billy Corgan’s work on Adore. Anthony’s lyric is as sophisticated as the arrangement: while the lyrics are telling someone to bug off, there are shades of guilt and an ambiguity that suggests the song’s narrator might not be as reliable or independent as he/she would think.

Like most music out of Austin, rock guitar takes a lot of spotlight on the record. But it isn’t the by-the-numbers distorted pentatonic scales that are so cliched coming from this city. The strings are full of twilight ambience and are informed by Anthony’s cosmic, ineffable voice and lyrical themes. Grant Tye’s lead work is a major highlight.

Anthony composed all of Tornadoes‘ songs by herself or with a few collaborators, and the songsmithing is composed and structurally sound on all ten tracks. The songs have meat on their bones but never outlast their welcome. The swaying between Anthony’s verses, choruses and bridges allow her to play with the melody throughout each song. Often this leads to blossoming climaxes of startling power, like on the piano-led, bruised “Yellow Harmony.”

There are no duff cuts on Tornadoes, and Anthony’s fans will pick and choose for themselves which are the highlights. One of my picks are the title track, which mixes a deft metaphor with a performance and production that recalls the best work of Aimee Mann. “January Singers” is particularly epic and disarming. Anthony’s lyrics capture nostalgia with a novelist’s attention to detail.

“Permanent” mixes the rollicking singer-songwriter feel of Carol King with a spastic, submerged guitar. The chorus soars effortlessly and tacks on a stick-in-your-head vocal refrain. “Lights of Chicago,” the record’s finale, features production effects that groan like the Earth’s shifting tectonic plates. Anthony’s words make the song an appropriate choice for the closer – “take this last song and say goodnight” – but it’s more than a gimmick. “Lights of Chicago” is a compendium of the moods and topics Michelle has been ruminating on the entire album. She doesn’t leave with any answers to her questions, but a sense of transcendence is hinted at before the song scrambles itself (and the album) into oblivion.

As I have been writing this review I’ve listened to Tornadoes over again, and songs that didn’t hit me as hard the first time around suddenly make my hairs stand on end. While there are immediate virtues available on the first listen, additional spins of Tornadoes reveal depths and secrets. This album is a grower and an instant pleasure in the same package. Michelle Anthony’s third record dropped right on the tail end, but it is one of the best Austin albums released in 2010.

Final Grade: ****1/2 (out of five)

OnMilwaukee.com Interview
Milwaukee first met Kansas City native Michelle Anthony via her band Capital 8, based here. When the band split, she started Stick Pony before embarking on a solo career.
Moving south to Austin, her star began to ascend thanks to two well-reviewed and well-received records — “Stand Fall Repeat” and “frozenstarpalace” — that led to great things, including an appearance on “Mountain Stage.”

Now, after a four-year break, during which time she became a mother (twice!) and had some health problems, Anthony is back on the scene with “Tornadoes,” released Nov. 2.

We asked her about the new CD and the past four years and when she expects to get back to Brew City. Click to read full article and interview!

It would be easy to lump Michelle Anthony in with other Lilith Fair-type singer songwriters who are more her contemporaries than her influences. You can follow her roots to a Midwestern upbringing and hear a vocal styling and song craft more akin to Karen Carpenter and Carole King.

Tornadoes, her third and hard-won release, took four years to write and record. The record presents a portrait of an artist who, as she says in “Lights of Chicago” isn’t ”singing just to sing,” but has been through some storms and come out the other side into the blue sky.

Anthony and husband/songwriting partner Scott Anthony have become parents and had to deal with life threatening illness in those four years. They chose to make this album a permanent testimonial to that struggle. In return Anthony has left behind most of the Austin, Texas-inspired country rock sound of her previous releases in favor of songs like the poppy “Spare Me,” and the radio ready “Don’t Deny.”

Click to read full review!


Choosing Tornadoes as the title of her third album might make you think that Austin performing songwriter Michelle Anthony had emerged from a fairly tumultuous period in her life — and you’d be right. But she also describes Tornadoes (November 2) as a “thankful” record, a theme that shines through her new songs like an unwavering beam of light. Following the birth of her child, Anthony was afflicted by a life-threatening illness, a difficult time made even more harrowing as she contemplated the possibility of not being there for her young son. Survival brought joyful relief but as she returned to the studio for the first time in four years she realized that the experience in all of its emotional depths and plateaus was profoundly affecting.

A Texas transplant by way of Milwaukee, Anthony brings to her music as much unmannered heartland pop energy as Austin-inflected twang. Lead track “Spare Me” sounds as if Chrissie Hynde had opted to front Fleetwood Mac instead of the Pretenders, a steady rhythmic pulse giving way to a glistening shower of chiming guitars, fuzz-toned bass lines and Anthony’s crystalline vocal harmonies. “Permanent”, one of four songs written for her son, moves with an Aimee Mann/Sarah McLachlan vocal intonation and catchy chorus hook. But it’s the title track that most purely exemplifies the best of Tornadoes: exquisitely turned melodic phrases that ring gracefully, forcefully but without a trace of showy pretense.

PENS EYE VIEW (Interview)Click to read the interview

Michelle Anthony has released her third full length album Tornadoes, easy on the ears it combines Michelle’s empathetic vocals and writing with several tracks inspired by the birth of her son.

“I wrote ‘Permanent’ for him. I was pretty scared during the first months of my son’s life. I was so worried I wouldn’t be here for him. I wanted to leave him something more meaningful than material things for him to remember me by. I wanted him to have my voice and words, should he ever need them, so I left him a song. I’d never really focused much on writing in a positive light, probably because I thought it would sound silly or forced. On this record, I wrote more autobiographically and if I felt amazingly happy, rather than doubt it, I just went with it.”

For Tornadoes Anthony has enlisted some quality support in the form of drummer John Chipman (Band of Heathens), guitarist Grant Tye (Robbie Fulks), Anthony also plays keyboards with The Silos when they perform in Austin and featured on their recent album.

"frozenstarpalace" (2006)

frozenstarpalace (Release Date: Oct 31, 2006)

Roots rock singer-songwriter Michelle Anthony moved from long-time home Milwaukee to Austin, Tex., in 2005 which might explain why she sounds so much warmer on her new EP. Mining a similar vein as Sheryl Crow on Tuesday Night Music Club, Anthony tended to be downbeat on her 2004 debut Stand Fall Repeat (as well as with her former band Capital 8). But the ice has thawed and she’s ready to frolic in the green grass. Opening track “Lead Glass Tiffany Shades” bops along with Carole King-style sunniness, and while the title track make obvious reference to the frigid winters Anthony left behind, she sounds revitalized on he seven-song disc. – Steven Hyden (3/2007)

Michelle Anthony’s *Frozenstarpalace (Merctwyn Records) grounds up its many recording sites (Chicago, Milwaukee, L.A., Austin) like the opening cut into this seven-song EP, “Lead Glass Tiffany Shades.” That gives FSP a kind of untethered sound, even under the tutelage of producer Barry Goldberg, but Anthony’s pro enough to let her music stand on its own. She loves her rock & roll (“Ugly Side”), yet doesn’t hesitate to wax sentimental with “White Lies.” – Margaret Moser (2/2007)

ALL MUSIC GUIDE Michelle Anthony has a big, full-throated, blues-tinged voice reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt or Lou Ann Barton, but she lacks much interest in plowing the same old roots rock field one might expect from a singer with this kind of instrument. Aimee Mann’s post-punk take on the ’70s singer/songwriter sound is much more what Anthony has in mind on her second album: the songs are inventively arranged, with much prominence given to Anthony’s own battery of keyboards, ranging from Carole King/Carly Simon piano to the sort of oddball electric ornamentation that Patrick Warren uses to enliven Michael Penn’s albums. Anthony’s band consists mostly of Robbie Fulks’ usual sidemen, which adds an occasional alt-country twang to tunes like “Hard Way to Lose,” but on songs like the impassioned rocker “Ugly Side,” which sounds like a lost gem from the Learning to Crawl-era Pretenders, and the astonishingly Mann-like “Aluminum,” Anthony is making the AAA-radio scene her home, and it suits her. The only problem with Frozenstarpalace is that at seven songs in just under 25 minutes, it’s too short by half. – Stewart Mason **** 4 Stars

Singer-songwriter Michelle Anthony wasn’t born in Milwaukee, and she left town for Austin more than a year ago, but she is still a true-blue Milwaukeean. Moving here from Kansas City to attend Marquette University, Anthony spent 10 years in local bands and clubs cutting her teeth with the roots-rock quartet Capital 8. In 2004 she struck out on her own on Stand Fall Repeat, an acclaimed CD produced by ex-Wilco member Jay Bennett that drew raves from alt-country Bible No Depression and earned Anthony comparisons to kindred spirits such as Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan. Now Anthony is back with a new EP,frozenstarpalace, which was mostly written and recorded before she moved to Austin in May 2005 with her husband Scott. (The title track makes reference to the frigid winters the cold-averse singer no longer has to suffer through). Daring to venture back ehre just as the six-month chill settles in, Anthony will celebrate the release of frozenstarpalace with a CD-release show…(interview) (11/2006)

As a Milwaukee girl, I was eagerly anticipating hearing Michelle Anthony’s second album, the mini-LP Frozenstarpalace. Anthony recorded it as a document of moving from Milwaukee, WI to Austin, TX, and has described it in interviews as having a “Milwaukee vibe,” despite having been recorded in Milwaukee, Austin, Chicago and Los Angeles. You might think that the record would be uneven, having been recorded at so many different times and places, but that’s not the case. Anthony’s claim that the album is a year-long song cycle is a good one, as some songs reflect the cold Wisconsin winter, and others are sunnier and poppier.

Anthony’s music reminds me a lot of Aimee Mann; both women are rock with a pop twist, and their voices are similar in emotion and depth. Anthony’s album is both sad and triumphant, a story of a woman in the middle of a life change. Fans of Aimee Mann, as well as Carole King and Bonnie Raitt, both of whom Anthony has also been compared to, would be wise to check out Anthony, a well-hidden treasure.- Dana Reinoos(2/2007)

Michelle Anthony isn’t Neko Case; that is, her voice isn’t instantly compelling. Nevertheless, she has the unaffected delivery of her Midwestern heritage and the ability, reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan, to quietly insinuate herself into the spaces between conscious thoughts. Her songwrtiting widens those spaces onFrozenstarpalace, a seven-track EP that improves upon her strong 2004 debut Stand Fall Repeat. From the high-intensity country-rock romp of “Ugly Side” to the Carole King bounce of “Lead Glass Tiffany Shades”, Anthony rarely overthinks lyrics and virtually never mismatches the moods of the words and the music. Some credit belongs to her fellow musicians (including Robbie Fulks sidemen Grant Tye and Gerald Dowd) and engineers (including Barry Goldberg and Jay O’Rourke), but the stark beauty of the ballad “White Lies,” on which Anthony accompanies herself with radiantly melancholy piano, proves she both holds and deserves the spotlight. – Jon Gilbertson (1/2007)

Even though it’s of abbreviated length, the sophomore set from newcomer Michelle Anthony strikes a fine line between sass and sensitivity. Indeed, it’s a mark of her versatility and musical dexterity that she’s able to veer so adeptly between genres, playing the sensitive songstress one moment and the brash, defiant rocker the next. Happily, no matter which direction she takes, Anthony proves herself more than capable of setting her stance and establishing an electrifying presence. She makes her mark early on with opening offering “Lead Glass Tiffany Shades” which, despite its jumbled title, finds her singing with a swagger and a jaunty, jazzy disposition. The title track follows, a song that’s all sass and slide guitar, but it’s the two songs that follow -– “Ugly Side” and “Aluminum” — that find Anthony in a more studied setting, the former a study in quiet contemplation, the latter a torch song ballad that becomes a riveting showcase for her raw, emotional expression. “Hard Way to Lose” and “Chance” temper the vicissitude, allowing the set to reach its conclusion with an easy lilt and carefree sway. In the hands of another, this shift in sentiment might prove unnerving. However, in this case, it’s merely the mark of an artist who can claim brilliance as part of her vocabulary. -Lee Zimmerman (10/2006)

Michelle Anthony isn’t your typical singer-songwriter, although she does have enough chops to earn that moniker, with songs like the bouncy, happy-go-lucky “Lead Glass Tiffany Shades” that sounds like a cross between Carole King and Bonnie Raitt to some extent. Meanwhile, the moody and mid-tempo adult contemporary pop of the title track is sure to bring to mind artists like Aimee Mann and Natalie Merchant. It’s the fact that she can’t be penned down that results in a very fine release, especially with the rowdier, roots rock of “Ugly Side”, which is quite pretty. Anthony shows another side with the smart, poppy “Aluminum” that relies more on her voice than it does the airtight, infectious, and winding melody. Then there is the tender, bittersweet piano ballad “White Lies” that she nails perfectly. And the same can be said for the delightfully low-key “Hard Way to Lose”. It’s a hard release not to enjoy. -Jason MacNeil. (10/2006)

“Her voice, which quietly recalls Carole King at her prime and Sarah McLachlan at her most subtle, comes closer to a honeyed fullness. Her instrumental work, primarily undertaken at the piano, is no less deft.”


LA DAILY NEWS Singer-songwriter Michelle Anthony follows her unjustly neglected 2004 gem, “Stand Fall Repeat,” with the seven-song mini-album “*Frozenstarpalace” (Merctwyn), another solid effort that at times recalls the livelier Aimee Mann of a few years ago. (1/2007)

NO DEPRESSION BEST OF 2006 (message board poll)


Michelle Anthony wist ons al met haar door Jay Bennett geproduceerde debuutplaat “Stand Fall Repeat” van haar niet onaanzienlijke capaciteiten als chanteuse en liedjesschrijfster te overtuigen. Met donkere (alt.)countryballades zocht ze daarop nadrukkelijk een plaatsje in het rijtje Welch-Williams-Moorer-Edwards. “Frozenstarpalace”, haar nieuwste, plaatst haar in ander gezelschap. Ditmaal liggen vergelijkingen met andere dames als een Aimee Mann, een Sarah McLachlan, een Tift Merritt, een Bonnie Raitt, ja zelfs een Carole King meer voor de hand. De zeven nummers op die nieuwe, door de ondermeer van zijn werk voor Fleetwood Mac bekende Barry Goldberg geproduceerde plaat worden gekenmerkt door een nadrukkelijke pop feel, zij het dan ook her en der gekruid met een fikse snuif country soul. Vooral de belangrijke rol die in songs als “Lead Glass Tiffany Shades”, titelnummer “Frozenstarpalace” en de ballades “Aluminium” en “White Lies” weggelegd blijkt voor piano en strijkers voedt die vaststelling. Het leukste nummer is wat ons betreft echter net het voor de plaat atypische rockertje “Ugly Side”. Daarin botsen de werelden van Lucinda Williams en K.T. Tunstall op bijzonder aantrekkelijke wijze op elkaar en dat weet ons precies daar te raken waar we het graag hebben. (11/2006)

"Stand Fall Repeat" (2004)

Stand Fall Repeat (2004)

NO DEPRESSION (Town & Country)
“In the course of eleven songs, Anthony’s voice moves with a melodic and emotional sureness that recalls early Sarah McLachlan, though Anthony adeptly mingles country and blues influences into her refined phrasing.”

THE PITCH (Kansas City)
If you were walking into a club, Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter Michelle Anthony’s Louisville Slugger of a voice would hit you right in the ears, and so would her Chrissie Hyndesque way of trailing off at the end of phrases. After a few tunes, though, it would be clear that she has much in common with the cheerfully depressed Los Angeles songwriting scene that cradled a pre-Magnolia Aimee Mann and her hubby, Michael Penn. After all, one of Anthony’s best tunes, “Mourning Song,” is a description of an anniversary. Her latest album, the existential Stand Fall Repeat, produced by multi-instrumental svengali Jay Bennett, emphasizes Anthony’s pop sensibilities…Her bio mentions that she was born in “a distant suburb of Kansas City” (DeSoto? Platte City? Omaha?). We need to claim her, fast.

F5 (Wichita, KS)
“Had Liz Phair gone to Los Angeles circa 1972 to make a record with Gram Parsons and the members of Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, this might have been the result.”

Blessed with a commanding voice reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde, Kansas City native Michelle Anthony offers a bluesy take on alt-country, full of cynical wit and post-relationship regret. Now residing in Austin and finishing up her sophomore effort, Anthony’s mix of urban soul and rural twang should appeal to fans of Tift Merritt and Bonnie Raitt alike.

“Her sound is an easy-going and world-weary mix of folk and Americana…This record is definitely on par with Crow’s The Globe Sessions, which is quite an achievement for a debut!”

“For years, Michelle Anthony led the Milwaukee alt-pop band Capital 8, finding a solid balance between bar-band fun and radio-ready sheen. Last year, Anthony stepped away from the group to record a solo album that showcases songs with a bit more depth. The result, a monstrously self-assured set called Stand Fall Repeat, features production by Jay Bennett and songs that nod at Aimee Mann and Sheryl Crow.”

“This Milwaukee singer-songwriter put a band together last summer as a side project from her main outifit, Capital 8, but it seems to be edging toward front and center. They’ve already recorded a debut alum with Jay Bennett; judging from a four-song preview, it’s polished yet rousing indie country rock, carried up into glory by Anthony’s singing, which reminds me a lot of Linda Ronstadt.”

“On her debut “Stand Fall Repeat” (Burn & Shiver), co-recorded by Jay Bennett (of Wilco fame) in Chicago, Michelle Anthony sounds a bit like Chrissie Hynde on an insurgent country bender, particularly on “Don’t Deny,” “Radio Waves” and “Analog Feeling.” The product of a break Anthony took from Milwaukee-based Capital 8, “Stand Fall Repeat” also features the Wilco-esque “Family Tree,” the bluesy rocker “Bubble Clock,” the fittingly tragic “Mourning Song” and the gorgeous closing track “Today.”‘

“Stand Fall Repeat…offers more of the dark and somewhat dingy country ballads that brings to mind Kathleen Edwards, Allison Moorer or Gillian Welch if she was raised on a heap of alt.country albums…It’s hard not to like!”

“…Michelle Anthony (& her band Stick Pony) is a cross between Laura Nyro circa Eli/Gonna Take A Miracle, post-Jeremy Spencer, pre-Tusk Fleetwood Mac, the Jayhawks and the Band…”Radio Waves,”…is a country-soul GEM that’d be perfect for Lulu or the late Dusty Springfield…”Analog Feeling” is droll, existential, rousing & soulful, like The Band playing The Replacements’ most power-poppingest song, sizing up Life like it should be sized-up, with no headache….”

This is a top-notch first effort…Michelle deserves to have any accolades bestowed on her that other outstanding female vocalists in her genre are currently enjoying…My grade for Michelle: A-.”

SHEPHERD EXPRESS (Milwaukee) Interview.

“The musicianship and songwriting are top-notch, but what really stands out is Anthony’s beautiful, strong voice, which has been compared to Chrissie Hynde, Liz Phair and Sheryl Crow. Those comparisons don’t really do her justice.”


“Raised outside Kansas City, Anthony’s luminous voice recalls the early work of Chrissie Hynde and Lucinda Williams. Call it rock and roll with an alt-country heart or vice versa…Play “Don’t Deny” once and you won’t deny twice being a huge Anthony fan.”

“One listen and you can’t deny that Anthony is one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets. Grade: A”

“…there is a lot to get excited about in Anthony’s roots pop rock and roll, from her melancholy melodies to her warm, all-American voice and from her ability to master material both uptempo and mellow.”

(Review of SFR and live show at NYC’s The Living Room)
“Anthony…has a powerful, rich voice reminiscent of Mama Cass or Ellen McIlwaine…[T]he CD doesn’t quite do justice to Anthony’s voice, and I would never have known that if I hadn’t seen her live. That’s not to say it doesn’t show she’s a good singer: in fact, when I first listened to the disc I thought, Thank goodness, a female singer-songwriter who isn’t afraid to actually sing! But she’s stronger live…”

VITAL SOURCE (Milwaukee)
“Michelle Anthony’s solo album Stand Fall Repeat showcases some of the strongest girl-and-piano ballads since the appearance of Susan Tedeschi’s Just Won’t Burn.”

“The singer, now based in Milwaukee, has a commanding approach that suggests the influence of Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Her sound is part honky-tonk, pop and rock. The acoustic riffs on her first full-length album, “Stand Fall Repeat,” coupled with her romantic overtures, also are reminiscent of Sheryl Crow.”

“With influences ranging from The Pixies to The Pretenders, melody collides with pop sensibility with hooks and catchy refrains.”

“few will find too much wrong with this record which shines from note one. Fans of Alison Moorer, Kathleen Edwards and Sheryl Crow will find succour here, Anthony another of the big voice-winning smile brigade. Highlights of the record include the opener ‘Mourning Song’ which borrows a chord progression from Spain’s best song but kicks it into fresh territory and ‘Ivy Rider’ which has a killer chorus tailor-made for Anthony’s strong voice.”