So inspired by a lot lately, especially this Margot Bergman show I saw recently at Anton Kern Gallery.
Speaking about the paintings in the show (kind of portraits within portraits -- she painted her pictures on/around found paintings she's collected) Bergman says: "It was a process - living with them, understanding what I was looking for, beginning to draw it out, slowly and without a plan, responding to the original paintings. I didn’t know what the next step would be. Once I found my way to the portraits, it was magical for me."
I'm really obsessed with the new Two Ton Boa album Certain Years too. It makes me wish I was still trying to get paid to write about music. I want everyone to know about this record. Even if you're not already a huge Two Ton Boa fan (which I am). It's mostly acoustic, folksy. It's haunting. It's kind of nuts. It reminds me a bit of what Goldfrapp did? Or what Portishead did? It's this thing of going to a less formally rigorous sound but losing none of the power.
Sherry Fraser's voice is haunting much in the same way for me that Bergman's paintings are. It's this effect of harmonizing with yourself, and composing between your own voices. The feeling, for me, is a kind of vertiginous wisdom, a nauseating collapse of context. It's as if you meet someone who looks familiar, and they tell you they're you from the future and they have to give you advice, and then you make out, you argue, you converse. You write a future together.
My favorite song on the album is "Waking"
Sherry Fraser's other records are amazing and absolutely worth hearing, but the new one sounds radically fucking different, but still recognizably Fraser's voice, her songwriting. Her lyrics. The power of the older songs is still there, it's just different. If I was a music critic I'd talk about the history of West Coast punk rock, which Fraser is a part of. I'd talk a bit about the Paisley Underground. Two Ton Boa is (or has been) sort of goth, sort of steampunk almost, sort of post-rock, sort of performance art, sort of narrative and sort of abstract, experimental but tightly-wound. Like coiled dynamite or something.
I remember when I saw Two Ton Boa play in Olympia in the year 2000, as part of the first Ladyfest. They played at Thekla and were amazing. I think there's a recording of that show somewhere. I remember asking Sherry to sign a poster for me some time later that week. I think she had fancy eyeliner on (drawn to be like lightning bolts). She signed the poster "To Max, Always look both ways". This is good advice.