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Emma Louise Niblett (born 29 September 1973), better known by the stage name Scout Niblett, is an Englishmarker singer and songwriter. Her music is frequently minimal in style, many of her songs consisting merely of vocals accompanied by either drums or guitar, which she mostly plays herself. She is known for her intimate live shows. She is currently living in the United States, where she has worked with the influential recording engineer Steve Albini.


Niblett grew up in Staffordshire, Englandmarker and chose her stage name in honour of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, the protagonist in Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. She studied music and performance art at college in Nottingham. She has an obsessive interest in astrology—explaining the title of her 2005 LP Kidnapped by Neptune, she says, "Neptune is this planet that everyone has in their chart. But for me, where Neptune is right now and has been for the past two years has been affecting my chart in a huge way. Neptune is kind of the musicians’ planet, it rules music." She also is said to use astrology to predict the best place and time to record her music.


Niblett has released four LPs, through the Secretly Canadian record company in North America and through Too Pure in the United Kingdom. Her first release was a split 7" single with Songs: Ohia in 2001. Shortly after this she released her first LP Sweet Heart Fever, recorded at Chem Nineteen Recordings in Hamilton, Scotland by producer Andy Miller with drummer Kristian Goddard. Her follow-up release was a one-sided 10" EP, I Conjure Series, recorded live, where Niblett plays all the instruments herself.Miles, Terrance. I Conjure Series—Review Allmusic. Retrieved 23 Feb. 2006. For the next two albums—2003's I Am and 2005's Kidnapped by Neptune—Niblett enlisted the help of Steve Albini, as well as guitarist and bassist Chris Saligoe. The title track from Kidnapped by Neptune has been featured internationally on Stella McCartney's perfume advertisements. She also features on Jason Molina's album Magnolia Electric Co. (2003). 2007 saw the release of Niblett's fourth long player "This Fool Can Die Now" again featuring a rhythm section of Kristian Goddard & Chris Saligoe as well as Bonnie "Prince" Billy as guest vocalist on four of the albums duets.

Niblett cites among her influences a number of grunge period bands, including Mudhoney, Sonic Youth and Nirvana, and in particular the guitar of Kurt Cobain. In fact, she has covered the Nirvana song "Verse Chorus Verse" in concert. Her drumming technique, however, is inspired, she says, by a man who played at an open-mic night in Nottingham and would accompany himself on the drums while playing Beatles covers. This drumming technique has been a particularly distinctive feature of Niblett's records with Steve Albini, whose method is to place the drums centrally in the mix. A good example of Niblett's minimalist approach to songwriting is "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death", included on I Am and as the B-side to "I'll Be a Prince". It consists solely of a drumbeat with a cheerfully delivered repeating lyric, "We're all gonna die!", eventually concluding, "We don't know when, We don't know how." Niblett names the song as a favourite. Also of note is her downbeat cover of Althea & Donna's 1978 reggae hit "Uptown Top Ranking", which Niblett released as a single after it became popular at live performances.Secretly Canadian (2004). SC089 Scout Niblett – Uptown Top Ranking. Press Release.


  • Sweet Heart Fever (2001)
  • I Am (2003)
  • Kidnapped by Neptune (2005)
  • This Fool Can Die Now (2007)
Singles and EPs
  • "Miss My Lion" / "Lioness" (split 7" with Songs: Ohia, 2001)
  • "Shining Burning" / "Whoever You Are Now" (2002)
  • I Conjure Series EP (2003)
  • "Drummer Boy" / "Blossom" (2003)
  • "I'll Be a Prince" / "Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death" (2003)
  • Uptown Top Ranking EP (2004)
  • "Kidnapped by Neptune" / "I Am a Prince" (2005)
  • "Just Do It" / "Dinosaur Egg" (2007)
  • Kiss EP (with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, 2007)
  • "It's Time" / "My Beloved" (Drag City, 2009)

Notes and references

External links

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