Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Sing A Song
Autumn De WildeSo obviously I’m on record as having thought that Rilo Kiley’s last record (and according to some, their last record) Under The Black Light was a massive disappointment. It sounded like both principals were disinterested and just phoning it in, and made me think that maybe frontwoman Jenny Lewis’ solo career – at that point consisting only of the rather lovely and understated country-soul gem Rabbit Fur Coat – was going to be the actual way forward.
Which put her second solo effort, Acid Tongue, under that much more scrutiny. Was the weak and indifferent songwriting on Black Light an aberration or had the wellspring of inspiration that had served so well up to that point actually dried up? Well, it’s definitely a better record than Blacklight, but coming from me that’s not necessarily saying much. It thankfully eschews the genre-hopping of that last Rilo Kiley record and returns again to the rootsier trappings that suits Lewis’ voice best, though not in as quiet a manner as Rabbit Fur Coat. Acid Tongue is a bolder, brassier record with its share of rollicking moments, but what it gains in energy over the first solo record, it loses in vulnerability.
As her success has grown, it seems Lewis’ willingness to expose herself in her songwriting has diminished or what does make it through is thoroughly encrypted. And that’s fine, emotionally naked, heart on sleeve songwriting isn’t for everyone but Lewis has indulged before and the results have been stirring. So instead of a confessional, she’s enlisted a slew of guest stars – Elvis Costello, M Ward and Zooey Deschanel among them – and hosted a party instead. A party where the theme is loose but impeccably played, ’70s-style country-rock. And parties are great, everyone likes parties, but I’ve always been the sort who preferred the quiet 3AM conversations that follow when things have died down.
Gotham Acme talks to Joey Burns of Calexico. They’re at the Phoenix on November 18 and with original support act Bowerbirds having cancelled on account of exhaustion, the opener will now be Cuff The Duke.
In response to my “nothing to write about” comment yesterday, Radio Free Canuckistan gently reminded me that The Awkward Stage, who released the wholly underappreciated Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights earlier this year, are at the Horseshoe tonight as part of a west coast-acular bill with Said The Whale, Vancougar and Sylvie. Pulse Niagara has an interview with Awkward frontman Shane Nelken, The Toronto Star features Sylvie.