A thousand American Idol winners singing through a thousand autotune
modulators will never make a Voice, a singer to be reckoned with,
instinctually appreciated, and surrendered to. Very few of our
musicians could just as easily go by the title of singer
which is what makes Neko Case and her dulcet serenades so
Her new album, Middle Cyclone
(which boasts some of the most
seen in a hot minute), is due this coming Tuesday, March 3. As
she bends slowly away from the roots-of-country sounds that gave her a
broad appeal and audience, she finds gradual interest and
gratification in gently teasing the boundaries of the low-key, wistful
realms of alt-whatever-it-is, where she reigns as queen. So broad
(and, some would say, bourgeois) is her appeal that NPR is currently
in its entirety from their site. But let it not be said
that she’s “sold out” or gone middlebrow or, worse yet, lost her edge.
This is the same woman, capable of both the most affecting earnesty
and the most sublime tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation, mind you, who
appeared as siren Chrysanthemum, quite fittingly, on an episode
Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If that ain’t cred … —Erik Bryan
Just as a cat meows or a man who graduates with a Psych or Liberal Arts degree will most likely keep working at whatever service industry position he was holding prior to graduation, not only because he doesn’t really have any great prospects at the moment but because he’s also kind of comfortable there, new Carl Newman songs will always be posted here.
Carl Newman, being the bulk of the creative motivation behind one of the Aught’s best power pop-cum-professional rock acts, the consistently incredible New Pornographers, is releasing a follow-up to his excellent 2004 solo album The Slow Wonder
with Get Guilty
(Jan. 20)—possibly a play on Elvis Costello’s excellent Get Happy!!
. As with The Slow Wonder
, we can expect a tonal reduction of the bombastic, burgeoning, full-band sound that the New Pornographers cultivates (due in no small part to the participation of stars-in-their-own-right Dan Bejar of Destroyer and Neko Case of herself). Get Guilty
should signal a return to Newman’s quasi-rustic self-reliance and a softening of instrumentation that sounds both nostalgic and grand. His thoughts tend to appropriately focus on smaller things on these solo albums, as if he’s at greater leisure to investigate the minutiae of experience, which, in turn, elevates the significance of a sigh or backward glance to something deeply revelatory.
His newly released song, “There Were Maybe Ten or Twelve,” appears as the first track on Matador Records’ free fall sampler
, which also includes new tracks by Belle & Sebastian and Lou Reed, among notable others. It seems the bar for the rest of 2009 will be set perilously high by the end of January. —Erik Bryan