Tuesday, October 10, 2006

broke the furniture

Greetings, dear readers.
Just a brief announcement sharing that, contrary to my earlier ramblings, conventional wisdom and numerous (possibly) better things to do that have been slapping me around for the last few months, it's looking more likely that I'll be pulling the boards off the windows of this shop in the coming weeks.

A drastic redrawing of purpose, is what was needed. Some time to recharge, most definitely. I still haven't figured it all out, particularly when balancing this against a few paying gigs here and there that have demanded my time of late. How many howls in the well are needed? More on that later, perhaps, but suffice to say that the cubicle farm, the bane of my existance, my nemesis and daily distant friend, has somehow, accidentally I'm sure, improved. Just a little. Here and there, you know, not enough to make me send pink-margined love notes to it, but just enough to make me pay attention. This is an improvement.

For now, take this.

"Taut," by PJ Harvey and John Parish

Off the cantankerous and clamoring "Dance Hall at Louse Point" collaboration (my that's a lot of 'c' words), this little novella draws a neat line from PJ Harvey to Tom Waits, I think.

I came late to PJ's party a couple of years ago, I'm afraid. I won't call myself a fan even now, I don't think. The album this is taken from is a little too disjointed and jagged for my tastes, and those of you who have been here awhile know, I love the disjointed, I celebrate the jagged.

But it's taken awhile for me to catch up with Polly Jean. I'd only a heard "Dress" on an SF alt-rock station back in the '90s, but apart from that I just never explored her stuff. Then came "Stories from the Sea," which my wife handed me years ago for a drive across town. One song led to another, then that led to another album, which of course led to seeing a show from her 'Uh Huh Her' tour at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, a fantastic--no wait, it's not fantastic, it's a dump that is an embarrassment to the New York club. I don't want to get ahead of myself. But that's the trick of music and memory--while Ms Harvey and her band were on stage it WAS a fantastic, cramped, sweaty slice of rock 'n roll revival. The center of the universe. PJ was Chrissie Hynde, Steven Tyler and Robert Plant. In heels. And, when not singing, startlingly polite. Sweet, even.

Anyway, this was one of the songs she performed that night, and it's the opposite of sweet. All choked-voice dramatics, whispered obsession and religious spookery served in a hurried, desperate monologue over a clattering street-repair beat. And just as the song tries to repel you, pretty much make you run back to a retail establishment (had it not closed in the meantime), Harvey snarls, "Even the son of God had to die, my darling," and somehow you're fascinated, hooked even by this violent, disturbing but vivid little portrait. It's the opposite side of a doomed hot-rod romance. It's Robert Mitchum with 'LOVE' and 'HATE' on his knuckles and the young girl who loved him. It's a terrifying, exhilarating, difficult 3:14 that I think needs to be spread out to the world.

See you in a few days, I think.

Buy "Dance Hall at Louse Point"


At 11:05 AM, Blogger briana said...

Have you ever seen/heard Morris Tepper? He plays guitar for PJ and Frank Black in his Catholics incarnation... Aparently there was a steamy, rock n' roll romance between Morris and Ms. Harvey, not sure if it's still going on. But she plays back up for his solo gigs every once and awhile. Worth checking out at the local Hollywood-fabulous dup/dives when he's around.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger chris said...

Ahhh, that explains why I'd always hear about them playing together. I think she joined him onstage at an ArthurBall night last year or something like that.

In furthur gossipness, Last I heard PJ was involved in some torrid romance with Vincent Gallo. Which is so not what I want to think.


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