Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Weird, Ain't It?
Wise Reynolds words in the Village Voice re: The Weird New America.


I feel the same way as Simon for the most part, although I suspect that I'm a little more familiar with and discerning about the genre/scene then he is. Basically, I listen to quite a lot of that stuff but I've never been
able to buy into it completely.

From my experiences actually playing in a free folk ensemble (The Bastion Mews), I'd say that being an English ex-pat has a lot to do with it (Reynolds and I both grew up in the
UK and moved to North America in adult life). I find that the elements in the TBM schtick that are important to me (English occultism
and folklore etc.) are embraced by North Americans in a rather insubstantial "Rocky Horror Show"-loving Drama Club Goth fashion. So, while Wooden Wand are a great band and I did buy one of their LPs ("Sunset Sleeves"), they'll never mean as much to me as Coil or Richard Youngs - artists who are closer to the source in every sense.

This cuts pretty deep and runs beyond the realms of any kind of avant-noise music and into the singer-songwriting world. I really like US freak-folkers like Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Josephine Foster and Marrissa Nadler. And yet, I'll always prefer the work of relatively "corny"
UK songwriters like
James Yorkston and Chris T-T because there actually seems to be a point to and context for what they do. Listen to Banhart's protest songs on his new album next to T-T's "Bored of the War". The latter may make you cringe at its sincerity but the former will just wash over you - those songs could be about anything really and they'd have the same level of impact (medium).

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