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Mind over mind
Elvis Perkins | Elvis Perkins in Dearland
March 3, 2009
Elvis Perkins | Elvis Perkins in Dearland (2009)
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Elvis Perkins is the third Elvis on my iPod, and he's also the least controversial of the lot: he doesn't shake his pelvis or appropriate the unsung musical styles of others, and he certainly hasn't engaged in an epithet-laced bar fight at a Holiday Inn.
Perkins's bag is a knack for making the lonely conceits of the contemporary singer-songwriter sound uplifting. His sophomore release,
Elvis Perkins in Dearland
, which shares the name of his terrific band, offers both minor- and major-key songs, all of them extending their arms skyward like huzzahs from the barstool; even "Doomsday" is quite the reveler.
Perkins's simple, folk-hymn melodies are helped along by New Orleans brass, harmonica, B-3 organ, and harmonium, their trumpeting and wheezing sounds adding levity to blunt statements like "Black is the color of a strangled rainbow." This push-and-pull makes for a listening experience that's introspective
celebratory, a beautiful confusion in your gut — or, as Perkins puts it near the end, "We were happy once, you and me, when we were sad."
That kind of pretty
Elvis Perkins has got a backstory on him.
“I heard a sound when I was a child,” Elvis Perkins sings in “It’s Only Me,” a typically introspective folk-pop number from this debut album.
That kind of pretty
I hop a curb, and — in the middle of Comm Ave — introduce myself to Elvis Perkins before his show.
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Persistence of memory
Though you don’t need to know anything about Elvis Perkins’s colorful and, at times, deeply tragic family history to appreciate his debut album, significant details can’t help but call out to you.
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Titus Andronicus | The Monitor
As if to allay any fears of a starchy Civil War concept album, Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles spends the first minute of The Monitor shouting out a series of cultural artifacts that postdate that conflict by, oh, about a hundred years: the Garden State Parkway, the Newark Bears, even the Fung Wah bus.
Jónsi | Go
To the Sigur Rós fans still weeping over the band’s decision to scrap their latest full-length and take an indefinite paternity leave: dry your tears with Jónsi’s uplifting solo debut.
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