MERENTINI – GONE ARE THE DAYS
For Fans of: Coldspecks, Antony & the Johnsons, Florence + the Machine, Saint Saviour, Adele,
ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS – CUT THE WORLD
Photo credit – Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin http://inezandvinoodh.com/portraits/antony-hegarty/
I am very happy. So please hit me. I am very happy. So please hurt me. - Cripple and the Starfish
I feel your fists, and I know it’s out of love. - Fistful of Love
Antony Hegarty has always taken it upon himself to bring his listener deep into the mind of the abused. Always playing the role of the victim, he equates love to pain, and acceptance as the sacrifice made for companionship. It is incredibly sad, and undeniably honest. Especially when paired with the thought of a younger transgendered Antony struggling for love, and bearing the brunt of the hurt others can spew upon those they fear. But what of the consequence to the mind of the abused? How much anger can be swallowed? For the first time Antony gives us a glimpse at the troubled thoughts of vengeance amongst people who have been beaten down.
For so long i’ve obeyed that feminine decree.
I’ve always contained your desire to hurt me.
But when will i turn and cut the world?
My eyes are coral, absorbing your dreams.
My heart is a record of dangerous scenes.
My skin is a surface to push to extremes.
But when will i turn and cut the world?
- Cut the World
However, the delivery is no more aggressive than any other Antony song. They are equally as fragile, equally as gentle. It is a statement to where anger begins – from the fear, from the hurt. The result is perhaps a sad utterance of empty threats of someone who wished they could retrieve some semblance of empowerment, or, perhaps, a frightening declaration of the eventuality of terrible vengeance. Judging from the violent video that accompanies the song, maybe the latter is more in line with Antony’s intent. I suppose it is best taken as a cautionary statement to the ignorant few who target the weak. One that warns they should strike the fragile at their own risk, because they will strike back.
Video (featuring Willem Dafoe) - http://www.pitchfork.com/tv/youtube/13-music-videos/328-antony-and-the-johnsons-cut-the-world-official-music-video/
BONNIE RAITT – GOD ONLY KNOWS
As music continues to turn to the eighties for inspiration, with all of its synth and bubble gum pop tendencies, one aspect of music is lost – intimacy. Albums like Antony & the Johnsons’ I am a Bird Now, and Joni Mitchell’s Blue were so candid in their personal drama that a listener could not help but feel an instant connection. But albums so naked are rare finds, because sunny day music sells better than the rainy day sort. Ironically, eighties’ Bonnie Raitt, with her history of soundtrack ready tunes, has brought back a little Joni Mitchell to my life. God Only Knows is as close as Raitt has ever come to making the next Blue. A sole piano rings hollow as she sings subdued against the sadness in her lyrics. She stares jealously at happy lovers walking by, wondering if her partnership was ever as beautiful – “Lovers laugh and cross this way. Weaving out and into the street. It seems we never were so young. Or it was never quite so sweet”. She laments with such believability, you can’t help but feel for her. It may not be lots of laughs, but it is the perfect rainy day song.
PERFUME GENIUS – AWOL MARINE
A little Antony Hegarty, a little Sufjan Stevens, a little Bon Iver, and a little Neil Young, this can give you an idea of what Mike Hadreas sounds like on his sophomore album. And with comparisons like that, you may get the hint that despite the playful title, Put Your Back N 2 It sounds anything but. It is a gut-wrenching, painful, but ultimately cathartic experience. Maybe that is why most songs clock in at about two and a half minutes. Listening to beautifully sad songs like AWOL Marine and 17 for more than three minutes may be legally classified as a depressant. Luckily, the album contains hopeful palette cleansers like the excellent Moby-esque Floating Spit. I had a tough time choosing the song to promote from this album, so I decided I would choose AWOL Marine because of the story that accompanies it. It feels like a story only Perfume Genius could tell. It is said to be about a real-life homemade gay porno that Hadreas had viewed, wherein due to poor editing, it reveals the actor admitting he is only doing this to get enough money to buy his sick wife the medicine she desperately needs. It is at least as heart-breaking and twisted as Mr. Peterson, if not more. Where Mr. Peterson had a jaunty piano line to keep it from full blown clinical depression, AWOL Marine sounds more like music for grieving, similar to Neil Young’s outstanding song Philadelphia. This is not music to accompany you on a sunny day, this is music to commiserate with.
WILD BEASTS – DEVIL’S CRAYON
Do you remember the last time you really fell in love with music? When you listened to something that reminded you what it was like to discover something incredible. Do you remember listening to OK Computer for the first time? Nevermind? Funeral? A song that kept you from going to sleep, an album that made you stay at home on a Friday. The last band that made me feel that way was Wild Beasts. 2011′s Smother was my introduction, with the song Deeper. The genuine soul that arose from this quartet from Kendal made me form an instant interest. I quickly purchased both the Smother and equally impressive Two Dancers albums. I had no clue that like another one of my favourite albums, I am a Bird Now, Two Dancers had been nominated for a Mercury Prize. And that is not the only commonality they share with Antony Hegarty. Like Antony, Wild Beasts perform with effeminate voices, and both artists began with lyrics that went from outrageous sexual cheekiness, to quiet, solemn, deeply personal themes. Therefore, like Antony, they may have alienated the masses that only fickly dabble in indie music. What a loss for them, because I believe this band truly has the ability to rekindle your love for great music. For today’s hidden gem, I go back to their debut studio album – Limbo, Panto. This song plays on all their strengths: their melody, energy, two incredible lead vocalists, and sense of passion. Devil’s Crayon would serve as their first single, and their first gift for all lovers of great musical discoveries.
All the King’s Men (from Two Dancers)