Happy Birthday, Beth Gibbons

In the mid-nineties, during the nascent stage of Trip-Hop, two bands emerged within the genre as innovators: Massive Attack and Portishead, and neither band were strictly beholden to what would become the genre’s tropes. Portishead’s wide array of influences created a band unable to be defined by any one style, yet their atomspherics proved immediately unique and identifiable. Melody Maker referred to their music as “musique noire for a movie not yet made” and that is an entirely apt description of their dark, smokey sound. Their first two albums, released in 1994 and 1997, are utter classics, albums that can be returned to again and again that never sound dated or tired. Beth Gibbons voice, alternately dreamy and menacing, crept from breathy, hushed tones to frighteningly strong and direct admonitions, as though playing both victim and villain, and often within the same song. Let Portishead be your soundtrack.

The short film To Kill A Dead Man

An amazing set, with Portishead augmented by a large string section

Beth fronting stoner band Gonga on a cover of the titular Sabbath classic