Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Moriarty: Fireday
Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

In an odd reversal of the journey Marianne Dissard took -- from France to Arizona to create Fanco-alt.country -- this group fronted by Rosemary Moriarty out of Ohio (they are Ramones-like all called Moriarty) have an established following in France where they reside for their alt.country, old time folk.

With harmonica, double bass, acoustic guitars, a suitcase played as a drum, Jew's harp, xylophone and other low-key often lo-fi sounds, this has a backporch or barnyard recording feel to it -- but this is no retro-wish fulfillment.

The subjects here are contemporary: a young woman enlisting to get a study grant and eneding up toting an M-16 into a war zone (Private Lily); cultural and economic imperialism (Whiteman's Ballad); a psychedelic-influenced lyric which implies misdeeds in the Catholic Church (Lovelinesse) . . .

Aside from Rosemary it seems the other musicians are all French (or ended up there, Charles grew up in Peru) but they have a fine understanding of alt.Americana and their sound is referenced in old blues, country and folk in a way which seems natural to them.

Rosemary, at times when she lets her voice gain strength, reaches towards Janis Joplin (at her rather more restrained) and there is a European thatrical quality evident throughout also in the suggestions of cabaret-noir. I imagine they present this music in an interesting way at shows.

So not a name that may be familiar but they have understandably drawn praise from the Guardian ("a ramshackle old world acoustic outfit" ****), the Evening Standard ("the finest talent on the alt psycfolk scene") and the French who gave them a gold disc.

This, as I understand it, is their 2008 debut re-presented and they have done a couple of albums since -- but this seems as smart a place as any to tune in.

An American in Paris, anyone? 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jakszyk, Fripp, Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles (MPL)

Jakszyk, Fripp, Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles (MPL)

With the (almost) complete Pink Floyd catalogue being re-presented shortly, the Moody Blues arriving on our shores and bands like The Mars Volta, Radiohead and Porcupine Tree pushing the... > Read more

Flea BITE: Bite Me (Border)

Flea BITE: Bite Me (Border)

And now something for our younger listeners. Or at least their parents or caregivers. Robin Nathan (aka Flea BITE) out of Wellington has been making children's music which has adult appeal for... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Guitar Shorty: Bare Knuckle (Alligator)

Guitar Shorty: Bare Knuckle (Alligator)

They used to say “when the times get tough, the songs get soft” – but hard times is good times for the blues which articulates the concerns of the downtrodden. And the US... > Read more

Krist Novoselic: Fast track to nowhere

Krist Novoselic: Fast track to nowhere

Some people just aren't that smart. At least that's what I thought about Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic when he tossed his bass high in the air at an MTV awards show and failed to catch it on its... > Read more