search
John Vanderslice: Cellar Door
John Vanderslice: Cellar Door
Artist John Vanderslice
Album Cellar Door
Label Barsuk Records
Released 1/6/2004
Purchase www.insound.com
Nobody remembers the New Riders of the Purple Sage, and those few who do probably think of them as good-time stoner country-rock, which is all wrong. Sure: that was what they sounded like at the time, but who among us can remember those days? Nobody. Which is why, when you listen to them, what you get is something that was probably lots of fun in its day but now seems drenched in darkness, and loss, and regret, and shame. You get the good times, and you get everything that stands between you and getting back to them. Which is what John Vanderslice’s new record, Cellar Door, is all about. Vanderslice began flirting with ‘70s-fetishism on his first solo album, Mass Suicide Occult Figurines, and delved even further into analog-worship on the follow-up, 1999’s mammoth Time Travel Is Lonely. Somewhere along the line, the distinction between form and content got real blurry; Life and Death of an American Four-Tracker sold its stories like real autobiography, and what once had seemed like Brechtian snapshots now read like diary-entries. Cellar Door finds Vanderslice completely immersed in his storylines, which involve families who’ve had to cut their losses and narrators who lie about their allegiances. The melodies soar; the keyboards burble like snorklers desperately looking to get back to the surface, and drums pop like rifle-shots. There’s a real joy to the whole endeavor, which makes delving into the subject matter something of a surprise along the lines of finding a corpse in the trunk of your brand-new Porsche Boxster. How Vanderslice and his band of assassins work through the tension between form and function is what makes them great. The songs begin life talking mainly about details: flowers on hillsides, or birds in trees, or familiar streets and parking lots. But there are bodies buried in the hillside, and snipers hidden in the trees; and only once we’ve taken up residence in this particular neighborhood does this become clear, and by then we’ve spent too much money to move house again. The more formal things get, the more likely it becomes that somebody’s gonna die: take the lush, lovely “Promising Actress,” which recalls Dan Bejar of Destroyer’s Bowie-damaged experiments in emotionalism crossbred with Jeff Mangum’s heart-on-the-same-sleeve-that-hides-the-ace postcards from an imaginary past. If history hadn’t already buried Vanderslice’s first band, MK Ultra, I’d point out that this new album welds their rock-band-on-all-cylinders greatness to John’s dark visions better than any of his solo efforts to date. That’s the thing about history, though. It does its dirty work whether we’re aware of it or not. So: Cellar Door weds the New Riders of the Purple Sage’s chops to Ron and Russell Mael’s desire to chop people up and spits out one of the prettiest journeys into hell that 2004 seems likely to offer. Good luck!
Artist Downloads
play all
John Vanderslice
song:The Piano Lesson
album:White Wilderness (Dead Oceans)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:Sea Salt
album:White Wilderness (Dead Oceans)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:Thule Fog
album:Green Grow The Rushes (Dead Oc…
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:Too Much Time
album:Romanian Names (Dead Oceans)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:Fetal Horses
album:Romanian Names (Dead Oceans)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:White Dove
album:Emerald City (Barsuk Records)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:Trance Manual
album:Pixel Revolt (Barsuk Records)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
John Vanderslice
song:Pale Horse
album:Cellar Door (Barsuk Records)
[ play ] | [ download mp3 ]
Similar Music