Essential New Music: Eszter Balint’s “Airless Midnight”


Eszter Balint is a fascinating face familiar to downtown NYC film lovers for her work in Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise, Steve Buscemi’s Trees Lounge, Woody Allen’s Shadows And Fog and a six show arc in Louis C.K.’s Louie. Yet, it’s her small-yet-captivating voice, her hard cabaretish songwriting skills and Baltic art-punk arrangements that form the center of third solo album Airless Midnight.

With the help of dierently skilled avant-guitar heroes (Chris Cochrane, Marc Ribot, Dave Schramm) and weary occasional co-vocalist Sam Phillips, the actress/singer lends dour punk theatricality to the noir-ish “Trouble You Don’t See” and “Calls At 3 AM.” Sleepy-yetchatty moments such as “Lullaby For Tonight” and the dire, dozy “Silence (After The Phone Call)” pack as much power and detail into their track time as any film. Yet, it’s Balint’s voice—small, squirrelly, yet full of blood and emotion—that draws you into Airless Midnight and keeps you riveted.

—A.D. Amorosi