Been Here and Gone
Ms. Zedek is probably best known to you -- as she is to me -- for her work in Come. I always thought of Come as a downcast mix of Slint and the Rolling Stones, which is probably a glib and unfair assertation, but regardless, I always wanted to like them more than I actually liked them. They never quite worked for me, and quite frankly, I blamed the Stones. After all, between Slint and the Stones, which band has made more good records in the last twenty years?
Turns out I was all wrong. On her solo record, Ms. Zedek ditches the Slint influence entirely, and the result is the best record I've heard from her yet. It probably helps that this record brings some other sonic touchstones to the fore that weren't as apparent to me before, most notably Leonard Cohen. It doesn't take a genius to pick it out -- the cover of "Dance Me To The End of Love" is a blatant hint -- but the influence is probably more obvious from the first track, "Excommunications (Everybody Knows)." It's depressing, world-weary, and drowns the listener in its emotion while abstaining from any of the typical vocal histrionics used to connotate emotions.
If that doesn't sound like the sort of upbeat album you want, well, you should probably bail, because it ain't gonna get any more pleasant around here. (Sample song titles: "10th Lament," "Desanctified," "Treacherous Thing." Sample lyric: "Your God hates me." You get the idea.) But while the emotions may sound as clichéd as a half-assed Marilyn Manson imitator, the important difference is that here they're real and informed by life, by age, by a world-weariness that permeates every damned last note on this CD. It's a great record, and I strongly recommend it. (DD)
(Matador Records -- 625 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY. 10012; http://www.matadorrecords.com/)