cat power

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Yoko Ono: Yes, I'm a Witch (Astral Weeks) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Yoko Ono: Yes, I'm a Witch (Astral Weeks) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Billed as simply "Ono" this is Yoko's vocals from various albums extracted and new backings added by a cast of luminaries which includes Peaches, Le Tigre, Porcupine Tree, DJ Spooky, Cat Power, Polyphonic Spree, the Flaming Lips and many more. Yoko's singing -- her screaming and childlike ballads -- was always controversial but to...

Cat Power: Jukebox (Matador)

Cat Power: Jukebox (Matador)

Covers albums can be uneven and most often uncalled for: usually they represent some stopgap measure for an artist, and at their worst seem pretty pointless, like Patti Smith's recent Twelve in which she covered songs which had influenced her but she brought nothing to them other than her stylistic signature. Or Bryan Ferry's recent...

Dawn Landes: Fireproof (Shock)

Dawn Landes: Fireproof (Shock)

Located somewhere between alt.folk and alt.country (sort of the urban/rural crossover) this Kentucky-born, New York-based singer-songwriter has supported the likes of Andrew Bird, Jose Gonzalez and Suzanne Vega, and overseas writers say if you like Cat Power, Beth Orton or Regina Spektor then Landes' subtle and intimate style is for you....

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Beck: Modern Guilt (DGC)

For my money there are only two indispensible Beck albums: Odelay of '96 and Mutations of two years later. That said, there are another couple I'd prefer not to live without -- and this one produced by Danger Mouse shapes up to be one of those, and is still climbing in stature on repeat plays.As always this gifted, musical changeling and sonic...

Alison Moorer: Mockingbird (New Line)

Alison Moorer: Mockingbird (New Line)

Moorer has quite some story: she is the younger sister of Shelby Lynne, was 14 at time of the murder-suicide of her parents, her ballad A Soft Place to Fall appeared in The Horse Whisperer and earned her a Grammy nomination, and she is the seventh Mrs Steve Earle (although to be fair to Steve he married Lou-Anne Gill twice) with whom she...

Various: Dark was the Night (4AD)

Various: Dark was the Night (4AD)

This excellent, diverse but coherent double-disc in the Red Hot series commemorates 20 years since the first Red Hot album and is another in the on-going project to raise funds for HIV and Aids awareness. Overseen by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, this collection naturally has a kind of alt.rock/alt.folk slant to it as they first...

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

Marianne Faithfull: Easy Come Easy Go (Naive)

The cracked and distinctive vocals of Faithfull have, as with Leonard Cohen, a devoted following -- and this double album which sounds typically whisky'n'smoke-cured is perhaps for longtime loyalists. Helmed by producer and musical conceptualist Hal Willner (who did, among other fascinating albums, the Charles Mingus tribute Weird Nightmare),...

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Given that this album was produced by Calexico's Joey Burns (who also wrote the music) this one comes as something of a surprise: you might have anticipated some kind of alt.Americana. There is something of that in the music and arrangements in places, but Dissard vocals (all in French) have that whispered, intimate, beguiling quality of the...

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

Marianne Dissard is a woman whose music confounds expectations, yet there is an impeccable logic to it: she is French but lives in Tucson, so there is an almost inevitable marriage of chanson and Americana on her album L’entredeux which was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico, who also wrote the music which envelops and supports...

NICK CAVE, THE SEEDY MIDDLE YEARS: From Tender Prey to Henry's Dream

NICK CAVE, THE SEEDY MIDDLE YEARS: From Tender Prey to Henry's Dream

In the early Eighties the safe money would have been on Nick Cave -- then battling various demons and his elusive muse -- not making it much further. Yet here is Cave, now in his early 50s, dutifully going to the office every day to write songs, novels, screenplays and soundtracks, and curating arts festivals . . . And seeing his...

Various Artists: We Are Only Riders (Shock)

Various Artists: We Are Only Riders (Shock)

The recent reissue of Gun Club albums (Miami, Fire of Love and Death Party), Jack White's championing of their frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce (who died in 1996), and the presence of kindred dark soul Nick Cave here should further draw attention to the profile of Pierce, a man possessed of an angry, urgent yet poetic and often melancholy streak....

The Twilight Singers: Dynamite Steps (Sub Pop)

The Twilight Singers: Dynamite Steps (Sub Pop)

Given Greg Dulli's penchant for brooding menace, death and demonic imagery borrowed from the Bible and the blues this outfit might better be called The Midnight Singers. Here – with guest Ani DiFranco duetting on the cinematic Blackbird and the Fox, and Mark Lanegan who is part of the similarly dark Gutter Twins with Dulli –...

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Polydor)

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Polydor)

Weird, but in a strangely compelling way  . . . like the best sci-fi. Last time out Bright Eyes/Connor Oberst located his album in a Florida town Cassadaga which is apparently famous for the implosion of spiritualists there – and this one opens with a long and odd spoken word it about the spheres, Sumerian tablets and reptiles...

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

From the early Nineties, Nick Cave -- ever so slowly -- ceased to be a preoccupation of those who immersed themselves in the gloom of his raw and dirty blues-based music and became a respected, almost mainstream figure. You could mention him in most conversations and people would know who you meant. Songs like Straight To You,...

YOKO ONO: Back with the blueprint (2001) and re-disc-covered (2007)

YOKO ONO: Back with the blueprint (2001) and re-disc-covered (2007)

Some years ago at another posthumous John Lennon album launch, a journalist asked Yoko Ono why she hadn't released an album of her own in quite some while. "There seemed no great call for it," she laughed. True enough. Whether it be her extraordinary primal screaming and emotional venting, her un-nuanced feminist polemics or naive...

J. Mascis: Tied to a Star (SubPop)

J. Mascis: Tied to a Star (SubPop)

The 2012 album I Bet on Sky by Dinosaur Jr – the band singer/guitarist J. Mascis helms with once-estranged Lou Barlow – divided loyalists, some heard it as a return to form and others (like me) thought it obvious. Mascis' albums under his own name have been more consistently interesting since Free So Free (with the Fog) over...

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