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Central Jersey’s Melissa Anthony is a relative newcomer to the singer-songwriter realm. So much so that her only available recordings are a five-song live EP taped at Asbury Park club The Saint. But that collection – available as a free download on Bandcamp – suggests a promising road ahead. In the breaks between songs, you can hear that the songwriter is still getting acclimated to the stage; her speaking voice soft as she frets about the spotlights and her glasses falling. But once she starts singing, 20-year-old Anthony’s confidence kicks in. Her voice at points is reminiscent of Joanna Newsom, and some songs – particularly the adventurous, six-minute wanderer “Shuffling” – show that she, like the arty Drag City Records harpist, is not afraid to bring complexity and ambition to the folk-pop genre. But where Newsom sometimes overwhelms the listener by being too esoteric and obscure, Anthony has the good sense to counter-balance her music with hooks and accessibility, a bit of Juliana Hatfield and Ingrid Michaelson. Check out the EP below, and catch Anthony at Tin Angel tonight with Dante Bucci and The Please Please Me.

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