The Bastard Fairies – Memento Mori
Adrenaline Music (4/10/07)
Like the Ditty Bops on a bad acid trip taking a handful of downers to mellow out, these bizarre low-fi songs are reminiscent of Saturday Looks Good to Me and Kimya Dawson, but seem to be playing on their own field completely.
The album flips around, under the guidance of the very talented Robin Davey, pulling from all genres of music; from bossanova in “Ode to a Prostitute” (clearly a highlight of the album) to a dub/upbeat rhythm in “A Venemous Tale”, then switching to an acoustic ballad in “A Heathen’s Lament”, or the dusty dirty guitar in “A Case Against Love”. Often the songs are intertwined with electronic beats, toy sound effects, children singing and a barrage of various other noises often suggestive of musician Kevin Blechdom’s work. The album trips only slightly when these kitschy pop songs last a little too long and grow cumbersome.
Melody aside, it is the lyrics of this album that really make it something special. Vocalist Yellow Thunder Woman (yes, Yellow Thunder Woman) often sounds as though she is singing through a bathroom door or into and empty can as she spins sinister dark tales about skin carving, the world’s oldest profession, “We Are All Going To Hell”, and as the title track “Memento Mori” (remember you are mortal) tells us, “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be dead.”
The most disturbing song, for my taste, is called “Maybe She Likes It” that concerns a woman in an abusive relationship without the will to get out. Or perhaps it is the song “Moribund” where a five-year-old kid is dying in the hospital, dolling out his organs, and questioning why he is there is the first place. Really, pick your poison with this album and how exactly you want to be depressed.
This album, at least up the writing of this article, was available for free download at the Bastard Fairies Web site, thebastardfairies.com
WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT…
Kevin Blechdom â€“ Eat My Heart Out (2005)
Just as strange and troubling as The Bastard Fairies, Kevin’s album reminds me of a lost Magnetic Fields album. Bouncy tunes, cartoon sound effects, and experimental music over some of the most chaotic lyrics I have ever heard. She can’t really sing and can’t really play, but by God is it interesting.
Start slowly with the song “The Porcupine and the Jellyfish”, and if you are still interested, move on to “Coming”, then, maybe, “Day To Day”. It will take a few listens but soon enough when you are singing, â€œShe is my Jellyfish, and she’s a free swimmer. She lives in my stomach, collecting her dinner,â€ you’ll know there is something great about this album.
“Lift Me Up” by Saturday Looks Good to Me, off the album Every Night (2004)
This is a beautifully created song with one of the most beautiful voices working in indie rock today. The whole album is a low-fi doo-wop masterpiece recorded on a four-track that leaves the listener breathless.