by carl wilson

Foster Grants and Genre Goggles


Just found out about one of the more underpublicized gigs of the month, Josephine Foster's appearance at the Silver Dollar on Thursday night. (Along with the ever-beloved Pony da Look.) I was unsure for awhile about Foster's warbly channelling of such spirits as Hazel Dickens, Joan Baez and Karen Dalton, but her latest, which hitches up those folky influences with Schubert lieder, shivers its timbres down the spine right into the lumbar, creating a magnetic pull I can't help but follow. Pied-Piper effects predicted for a live show. Hear some samples via this page and read up a bit over at the Gramophone, which has been loaded with great finds this week. (Later: Purty pictures.)

Unlike Zoilus, I realize. Sorry - I spent yesterday morning up at a conference of music librarians at York, trying to talk with them about how they ought to bring some "avant-folk" like Foster or doom metal or "alt-this-and-that" into their collections (the organizers' agenda) while also trying to hint that the new weird America to be found in the pop charts has just as substantial a claim on their attention (my agenda). So I slapped together a 20-minute talk on the social, ideological, musicological and creative aspects of genre, and then we auditioned a lot of hard-to-classify music and tried to play guess-that-genre with it. And since then I've been working on a profile of The Creeping Nobodies for the Globe on Friday (when they have the launch of their absorbing new disc, Sound of Joy at the Horseshoe with the Wharton Tiers Ensemble). All of which has kept me away from the keyboard.

Meanwhile go read Frank's site for news and views on events such as the upcoming Broken Social Scene/Dinosaur Jr. collaboration (for charity) and links to charming interviews with Rachel from Visqueen and so on. Go elsewhere for news of the due-in-August Mountain Goats full-length, Get Lonely. (Shades of Elvis Costello's Get Happy!?) Read Dave saying "why's everybody quitting just when it gets interesting?" (good point! my bet: intimidation). And while we're link-happy, how-the-hell did I miss Mike Powell's Stylus review of Destroyer's Rubies way back when? Honestly one of the best pieces on Destroyer ever, I'd say, and a very sympathetic guide for the perplexed: Destroyer’s Dan Bejar practically shits where he eats; he’s a parasite. Which Powell is then able to turn around into praise. Terrif.

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, May 31 at 2:39 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)



And yow, yeah, that's a fantastic Destroyer piece. Holy moly. Too bad you have to "register" to leave comments. (?!!??!) wtf, stylus?

Mr Powell, if you are reading this: kudos!

Posted by Sean on June 1, 2006 3:38 AM



"shivers its timbres down the spine right into the lumbar"

I dunno, Marco, are you basically criticising Foster for not being "authentic" enough in her delivery/intention? I love the way she's rattling this form, like teeth in a coffee-can she's just shaking away at. Her heart seems like it's in the right place for me, at least with regard to "Der Ko:nig"...

Posted by Sean on June 1, 2006 3:27 AM



What I like is that she's just stealing the songs and turning them into wholly other kinds of songs. (Yeah, basically Hans Eisler songs.) It's totally disrespectful but kinda, well, rock'n'roll.

However, the grounds on which to *dislike* that move are obviously totally solid. Maybe more solid than my grounds for enjoying it.

Posted by zoilus on May 31, 2006 4:00 PM



I agree with you on nearly everything, but I think dear old Franz would spin repeatedly in his grave if he had to endure this screechy Brechtian bizarrerie passing itself off as Der König in Thule. I don't know if you're a Lieder fan, but technical difficulties and nonsense instrumentation aside, it doesn't sound like her heart's even in the right place. You don't need to be Dieskau or Lehmann to sing Lieder -- Rufus Wainwright once sang a perfectly passable Geheimes -- but I'd be surprised if any of the Globe's Classikistanis (E-G, Ken Winters) could agree with your appraisal of these rather crude samples.

PS this was not meant to sound snarky.

Posted by marco on May 31, 2006 3:52 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson