This is the first of many works here by Will Oldham (most will be in the P section in around 2011).
I first spied Mr.Oldham at a gig at the Corner Hotel on Feb 17, 1997 (I looked that up here). I went along on the recommendation of a mate, having never heard his work. I was blown away by the uniqueness of his voice, the intensity of his lyrics, as was seemingly everyone in the room. I have never heard a crowd at said venue remain so hushed. I soon became the owner of many of his albums, and have bought new stuff from him on and off over the years.
I have seen him live again, but the magic has never been the same. His albums are equally hit and miss, especially the later ones. This one is very strong however. It evokes the tender and precarious dimensions that captured me that night. His voice is just as reedy and Appalachian as on much of his work. The lyrics are brutal and mesmerising, especially on the title track, which Johnny Cash would go on to cover.
It’s not all beer and skittles. I really have to be in the mood, otherwise his uncompromising style can be grating.
File under: I see bearded people
Erratum: I have just realised that i mis-alphabetised here – this should have have been #82. Sorry… I’ll blame the jetlag…
This is one of the more curious CDs in my collection. I didn’t buy it, but was rather given it by the boyfriend of a housemate way be in the mid-90s. He was the bass-player in this band, who were pretty regular scenesters in Melbourne at the time.
It is always fun to hear an acquaintance playing on tunes. As I don’t the CD case in front of me, I can’t tell if Steve (the said bloke), sings on one of the tracks, but damn it sounds like his voice. It’s a rather weird experience to recognise him, given our paths haven’t crossed in more than a decade.
So back to the CD. The vibe here is Red Hot Chilli Peppers meets Frank Zappa – i.e. bass-heavy funk rock, with tricky shifts in time signatures mid-song. There is a strong sense of fun both musically and lyrically. At times they drift into the more shouty and blokey end of TISM’s early work.
All in all this stands as a fine testament to a misspent youth (as does my music collection I guess). The lead singer of this trio went on to front a somewhat more successful outfit – The Grand Silent System. Here’s a vid from them:
I prefer his earlier work.
Note to anyone wanting to give me a free CD. That’d be grand, although of course I will only review it in its due position in the alphabet. But free stuff is good…
File under: I’m interested in this apathy