Friday, August 26, 2011

In The Darkness, I Know ( A Hole In Your Halo)

Despite my fanaticism when it comes to searching out new and interesting artists I still occasionally come across something new to me ( but not apparently so new) This is the case with Ana Egge.  She is a a folk singer with simple yet poetic phrasing that feels very well constructed and very measured. Her new record Bad Blood (out this week on Ammal Records) is her seventh effort thus far and is co-produced with the steady hand of Steve Earle.  Not being entirely familiar with her previous work it is difficult to judge how much Earle influenced this but it does showcase an ability for storytelling which is very akin to Earle who has recently published his own novel I'll  Never Get Out of this World Alive ; which was released simultaneously with an album of the same name.  A little digging also revealed that Egge's last album Road to My Love (2009) was co-produced with James Mercer of the Shins -- one need only to look at my previous blog post relating to this years Broken Bells EP to know just how I feel about Mercer. It's fair to say I have some listening to do of my own when it comes to Egge's discography, but that is an undertaking I will gladly dive into soon enough.

As for Bad Blood;  Having heard the whole thing on Spinner, I can say that it's full of heart. It's songs often have depressing subject matter that might be described by some as Gothic in feel (the literary sense, not the fashion sense friends) Yet the songs are still somehow uplifting when it's all said and done.  My favorite is unquestionably the title track "Bad Blood" [ which by some cursed logic is not on youtube yet] Another standout is "Evil". What I have for you is the first single, "A Hole In Your Halo" and although it wasn't my first choice of songs to share it does well in showing what this album is all about.

Revel In The Disconnect (Asking Price)

Well it's been a minute folks.. took time away [again] to enjoy my summer. Seeing as the season is good for just about everything BUT music releases I don't feel I truly missed much. (still if you'd like yell at me and tell me how wrong I am in this assessment you can always start your own blog about how I am a lazy good-for-nothing bum)

Anyway, what's finally pulled me from the doldrums is the new album from Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Mirror Traffic ; which was released this week on Matador.  If you know me at all you are likely aware of my love for all things Malkmus related - and while nothing can ever really come close to Pavement,  I have had to resign myself to the fact that they will probably never re-convene in full force and drop a new album. (Re-union tours are apparently another matter).  Knowing this is a little easier to take considering Stephen has consistently kept up work with the Jicks. Mirror Traffic is the groups fifth full length album since their debut ;  titled simply Stephen Malkmus (2001), and continuing on with Pig Lib (2003), Face the Truth (2005) and Real Emotional Trash (2008).  While I have liked these albums (Pig Lib in particular) I'd be lying if I said they were what I would call great albums.  Still Stephen remains one of my favorite song writers of all time.  He has always walked the line between incoherence and brilliance for me as a listener, going back even to pre-Pavement days w/ Silver Jews.  I still remember singing "Stereo" at the top of my pre-pubescent  lungs in the back of my mom's Ford Explorer.   

Mirror Traffic might not take me back to the glory days of 1997, but it is quite possibly the best Stephen Malkmus centric project in years and for me a definite step up from the group's last release Real Emotional Trash.  Here is one of the album's slow burners "Asking Price".