Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Folk Rules This Week

The best singing voice in North America returns with yet another stellar release. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is yet one more painstakingly brilliant Neko Case record, following up the miraculous Blacklisted, which remains one of my favourite records ever. This girl is a godsend. Her live record, The Tigers Have Spoken, proved to me that her angelic voice was not the work of studio wizardry; that even though she has quite possibly the best singing voice in pop music, it is an incredibly honest singing voice at that. Her cover of "Wayfaring Stranger" continually sends shivers down my spine.

I'm also enjoying Bonnie "Prince" Billy, an artist that I never got into for some reason until my girlfriend started liking him. Call me stupid, but I only recently made the connection that it was in fact him that took the front cover photograph of Spiderland by Slint. His record with Tortoise is great too, and shame on me for always overlooking him. Johnny Cash covers the guy, for Christ's sake; "I See A Darkness" is just that good of a song.

To put the icing on the proverbial folk cake I also indulged in my seemingly constant Red House Painters binge. Not just Red House Painters, but also the Mark Kozelek project Sun Kil Moon, who released the re-workings of Modest Mouse songs last year under the title of Tiny Cities. Not a fan of Modest Mouse, mind you, but I think that everyone that panned this record has their head firmly lodged in their anus. This is a Mark Kozelek record, not a Modest Mouse record - for some reason, indie kids had a tough time distinguishing between the two in 2005. I think the songwriting stands up to his two previous magnum opuses - Sun Kil Moon's Ghosts of the Great Highway and Red House Painters' Songs For A Blue Guitar which are both staggeringly brilliant albums.

What did I learn this week? Every once in awhile you just have to put down your circuit bender, pick up an acoustic guitar, and find a bucket of good ol' American-born whiskey. Folk is okay as long as it's balanced with Merzbow - just as Merzbow is only okay if it's balanced with folk. Light and dark. Quiet and is about balance.


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