PREMIERE: Maggie Rogers - Blood Ballet

 Photo:  Katia Temkin

Will Shenton

Authenticity is a difficult characteristic to bottle. Try too hard, and everyone knows you're faking it. Don't try hard enough, and it can seem like you're hiding behind impersonal detachment. On her stunning new video, "Blood Ballet," Maggie Rogers finds the balance with virtuosic ease.

The raw, emotional delivery of her vocals and acoustic guitar have a first-take quality that sounds like a close friend playing on your couch (and, as far as we know, that's exactly how the video was recorded). Rogers' occasional lyrical quaver and rough chord changes only add to the effect.

"Blood Ballet" is a song that's both melodramatic and understated, tear-jerking and cautiously hopeful. And perhaps most impressively, it establishes Rogers as an extraordinarily versatile artist who's as comfortable with unpolished solo folk as she is with studio-quality performances. Whether this is your first introduction to her work or you adored her last LP to death, it'll be hard not to fall in love with this piece. If you're in NYC, be sure to catch Rogers with her full band live December 14th, 10 pm at Pianos on the Lower East Side.