Reader, we are through. No, no, not with you, you’re fine, we love you. You’re great. What we’re through with is work. I mean it. We’ve been toiling away all summer, with the minor of exception of that beach trip to Fort Tilden we took. Oh, or that crazy Indian wedding. Oh, and that trip up to that music festival upstate. And those other trips to Fort Tilden and then Rockaway. Other than that—toiling away! All! Summer!
So we’re out of here, south-bound toward slower times and easier ways, in full hopes that the southern drawl I hated as a kid creeps its way back into my vernacular.
But oh the dilemma, Reader—what do we leave you with by way of sweet tunes? We’ve been a bit too much on the new-80’s tip of late, methinks, so nothing along those lines. Nothing that you’re going to get sick of like a indie-pop equivalent of “Call Me Maybe” (tell the truth—it’s already stuck in your head isn’t it?). Dungeons + Dragons themed death metal? Tempting, but not really our style. The metal part, I mean.
No, instead, being the studious, responsible planers that we are, we’re leaving you with a bit of a slow-burner to last you the couple weeks we’ll be away.
I first heard Cate Le Bon over at the now regretably-defunct music blog, Naive Harmonies (our good friend, Reid, who ran the blog and whose musical taste is impeccable is still doing the occasional post over at tuneMine—you should check it out). The occasion was the debut of her second full-length, Cyrk, and, at the time, I was mildly impressed but not blown away. Seemingly really nice song-writing—slow, deliberate music with beautiful but near-deadpan vocals—but I just wasn’t hooked immediately.
This week’s Song, “What Is Worse,” from Le Bon’s follow-up to Cyrk, an EP called Cyrk II (no idea where the name came from), had a similar effect on me at first. But the more I heard it, the more I wanted to hear it. It’s simple, rough, jerky guitar is impossible to sidestep—much like Le Bon’s voice—and the flat presentation of the verse, reminiscent of the Velvet Underground + Nico, pitches the higher vocals of the chorus into sharp relief, giving the song a surprising degree of depth. Overall, really, really nice dark-ish, folksy rock with a UK twist.
Le Bon originally hails from from Whales and still makes it her home, often singing songs in Welsh, which is clearly awesome and gives her some solid ‘Keeping It Real’ points. She also seems to be a bit off as compared to your average folk-rock-type, explaining her uncharacteristically macabre lyrical content to the BBC: “Early experiences with a string of pet deaths had a profound lasting effect on me. I have an abnormal fixation with death.” We’re not sure if that’s creepy or endearing…or both, but we like what she’s doing with her music, at least.
Give it a listen. And then another. See if it grows on you like it did me. If it does, grab the EP, out tomorrow in the states via The Control Group. You can also check out her playing the All Souls Church Organ version of “The Man I Wanted” below.
Note: Music posted to this site is kept online for a limited period of time out of fairness to the artists and, you know, our server. So if this is now an older post, the links may well be dead.