Thursday, October 18th, 2007
The Sunken Queen
When I talked about Doveman’s set opening for The National last week, by no means did I want that to be my final word on Thomas Bartlett or his new record With My Left Hand I Raise The Dead. While I don’t doubt that at least some of those in attendance who weren’t familiar with Doveman enjoyed the set, they’d only need to listen to the record once to appreciate why it didn’t do the compositions justice.
Hand is built on skeletal frames of piano and acoustic guitar, dressed in gossamer garments of horns and electronics and given the breath of life by Bartlett’s strained whisper of a voice. A voice that’s sometimes barely there, and yet seethes with an emotion so raw that it can’t be ignored. It feels so inward and private that it’s a bit uncomfortable being privy to it but while you may not understand what he’s feeling, you know you’ve felt exactly the same way before and so you’re welcome. Uncertain and unsettling yet beautiful and serene, Hand‘s nine “proper” songs drift in and out of extended instrumental bridges like a transistor radio caught between a classical music station, white noise and the afterlife.
And this is why, no matter how they tried to arrange it, it just couldn’t translate in a sold-out, 1000-capacity concert hall.
To celebrate (and promote) the release of the album, Doveman filmed a video for each song on the record and have been doling them out to various sites around the internet to premiere. It’s my pleasure to present the one for the leadoff track, “The Sunken Queen”. The rest are available to view on the Doveman website and Stereogum has some annotations for each part of the singularly strange video project.
Patterson Hood talks about the new Drive-By Truckers record Brighter Than Creation’s Dark with The Free Times. The new record is out in late January, I’m guessing the 22nd since the third week of the year is usually stacked with big new releases. But that’s just speculation on my part.
And finally, a survey of some 600 Canadian musicians has named Neil Young’s Harvest “The top Canadian album”. The full results are being published in a book creatively titled The Top 100 Canadian Albums and The Toronto Star has an interview with the book’s author as well as a list of the top 20 albums, according to it.