Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Overlooked in '09

Musical taste is an individual thing. One man's Red Red Meat is another man's Poison. Having said that, it's hard to understand when one of my favorite songs of the year is described in AllMusic as "the overlong 'Mary Is Mary,' which clearly aims to be epic but falls more in the merely lengthy category." That song touches me deeply. It's hard to remain unmoved when singer Jenn Wasner is clearly questioning the motives of the prime mover: "And oh, high and mighty, what is your game?"

Wasner told
Daytrotter, "I wrote this song after a week in which there was a dead body found in the woods behind our house." I can't make out all the lyrics, but I think there is a reference to that "sparrow" that isn't supposed to fall without Him knowing. Listen to Mary Is Mary (from the Daytrotter session) and decide for yourself.

I strongly recommend the Wye Oak album
The Knot, and I strongly disagree when I see words like "derivative" and "formulaic" bandied about in the Allmusic review.

Another of my favorites -- and similarly haunted in its mood -- is
Prince of Truth, the new album by Evangelista. The band Evangelista is led by the sorceress Carla Bozulich. If you haven't heard Evangelista, a good place to start is this SXSE session. The song "Hello Voyager" is exceptionally brave and emotionally naked, and the band does a memorable cover of the Low song Pissing.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Prescient Presence of Presents

Attention Atlanta area readers: the Residents will bring their Talking Light Tour to the Variety Playhouse on Friday, February 5th. That same night, Jonathan Richman will play the Star Bar. (What is this, 1980?)

According to
the Residents' website, "Talking Light is designed for performance and is based on a mix of improvisation and scoring. The concept for this project is interpretive story telling with an interactive electronic score.

"'What are ghosts?' ask The Residents - spirits of those no longer inhabiting the flesh, but unable to leave their lives behind? Or could ghosts be a manifestation of something even less tangible, like loneliness, unfulfilled desire or isolation? In a world where nearly everything has become defined and categorized, how do we fill our obvious, purely human need for the fuzzy, vague and supernatural - with TV commercials?" (No, with reality TV shows.)

The Residents have been making music for 40 years now. Some of the members must be in their sixties. No disrespect intended: the most recent Residents recordings are every bit as strange and challenging as the music they first released on Ralph Records.

The Residents: Santa Dog (1972).