Sunday, July 31, 2011

Resurrecting The Raven (THE RAVEONETTES)

My published piece on The Raveonettes latest album Raven in the Grave.

Resurrecting The Raven -The Raveonettes

The Danish duo The Raveonettes have captured the sound of my soul and I didn't even have to sell it. Music has always been a matter of energy to me, it's  like the sun and the moon.  Living in the magick, sunny land of California  the sense of hopelessness, dreary grey remains alive within me though and it seems lately that I've been leaning more towards the dark side. The only escape that adds more light in is  the pale notes of what the music triggers.Raven In the Grave brings upon these past time electric sparks. The pastimes at Marietta High. Marietta High, that's right. That's where I attended some of my schooling, the rest of my schooling never interfered with my education. You should know the story by now and if you don't the album Raven In The Grave will bring you back...back to a time when records end up triggering that sort of magic. The electrical spark inside that was once felt by yours truly roaming the high school hallways of yesteryear's. True there lies upon my pillow a brewing of many memories all at once just like a  lilac fragranced time that somehow still seems to lurk inside of me....

The first song on the album Recharge and Revolt brings a sudden question to mind....have we lost the child inside? When did we surrender and give into other ways, when did we lose the child? Or rather have we lost out and  gone so far beyond our own messed up mind of paying the bills and forgetting when we were young and traveling roads that keep looping. Yeah, let's talk of love and change even when our eyes are soft with sorrow. We're all adults, right? So why is it that some of us continue to raise a white flag instead of raising our black flags with the white raven of  soul and I surrender on it? Here I am and  I surrender to my love for those times, knowing they are still a part of me even when there is a War in Heaven. I raise it because what else can I do besides surrender to self and the truth that lives within me. As a writer I am green but wise. Wise with my glossy vines and this record invokes that feeling. It's fragrance and silvery gauze allow all the shadows and perfume to float again even when there's a war going on inside.  A war? No. Come on....We are all on a mission from GOD as artist. A mission where we can all live in the the sun, again...where the wise, green vines continue to gloss in our souls.   
It's the velvet, cool, crisp leaves  that glisten throughout this album that sooth my soul.  The Ravonettes full blown in their dewy luxury of childhood memories. The Raveonettes  washing the windows of life and cleansing my soul, reminding me that we have to stand up for what we believe in in order for the coming together to happen. Those velvet leaves are so full of tender pressure and they are hard at times to birth but the record does bring forth the spring in ones adult soul. I've been hypnotized by this music, it's not just  all just a beautiful lie? Or is it?  I'll just leave all the songs up to are the listener, you and your  fields of gold. My glossy leaves remain intact. Forget That You're Young.  Yes, it's a beautiful quivering kill. An echo in my head  persists "Can I fall awake now?" No. I rather dream it all up and live vicariously, slip away  back into a time when everything went like this: If you had a good book to read, if the girl/guy you picked up last night didn't have VD, if you didn't get insomnia, if the drug you bought from the roadie wasn't speed and instead it was coke know those sorta things. And, a place where if you went to bed by  3 AM you were lucky and it wouldn't affect your day. And, finally if you always had a ride the next day by 4 PM.  So, the rain was scented lilac tongued tender. You gotta  open your mind red- wide because love can tear you apart and echo just like a high school memory.
So I sit here, rolling over Raven in the Grave...I've been doing it for months, I'm always late it seems. But I still drift through the skyscrapers where those orange blossoms I mentioned earlier began. Alive. 

Enough about me though as I don;t wanna sound like a little arsonist...or narcissist as some may think. Raven In The Grave is unmistakably a Raveonettes album, a black halo of these times that we ( admit it or not) can share as adults.  A reflection of innocence, a reflection of the past.  No filigree masks here. Icy tears or (maybe) not. And, we continue to go into the world noticing the fragility and danger of love and lust...perhaps another good  murdering of the adult human innocence. I just don't know. Truth be told "It's the kids who fall in love " as Warhol once said. Call me a kid or call me an adult I don't care...with Raven in the Grave by my side both sides have been resurrected.

There are nine songs on Raven In The Grave. Rediscover yourself, your exploding heart...and resurrect your white raven on a washed black flag. You won't regret playing this record.

© Words Wendy Rose Watson – ZANI Media


Friday, July 29, 2011

Roots That Grow Up

My first published meditation in ZANI on PJ Harveys' new diamond album "Let England Shake!"

Roots That Grow Up Polly Jean Harvey’s New Language

Polly Jean Harvey’s newest album 'Let England Shake' is yet her most sincere voice ever and it certainly holds ground in today’s divisive climate with its title. Go ahead and toss the other sounds of 2011 out as this is the only album that is saying anything that's new and reflects the spirit of what's going on in today’s world. The album isn't just directed at Harvey’s home country, England, or at least her intention wasn't only to share through English eyes as there is a universal message she's delivering. She wanted it to be a connecting source to other humans wherever they are living as she made sure to tap into the shared push and pull we all have with the nation of our country, wherever we are. We all suffer disappointments in what our governments are doing, what wars are being waged in our names and the album keeps that universal flow and feel moving throughout.

From the jaunty closing refrain taken from Eddie Cochran’s, "Summer Time Blues" turned "Why don't I take my problem to the United Nations" is a real comedic, depressed and sarcastic coda. It does seem her song's character certainly can't imagine anyone else helping besides a peace keeping body. However many black passages there are on Let England Shake it is not a record that I see crying revolt but rather longing to breed unity.  PJ has not only heavily concentrated on the words used to create the English folk, mystical, revered dream pop atmosphere on this album but she has also created a new language for herself. The poetess has always been highly aware and in tune with worldly issues so this isn't a big change for her. She just has never laid an album out with this kind of political language because she felt she didn't have the proper skill as a writer to speak about political climates in songs. Two years later, after the seed had been planted she began her intensive study into a deeper political language and her long awaited star seed was born making a record fit that even your mom could listen to and love. The melodies are not very heavy and unless you're tuned into the lyrics, the songs seem harmless and no-disturbing. This is something Abba was always good at doing...combining upbeat music with  melancholy or dark lyrics and it always works...although Abba would never have depicted "soldiers falling like lumps of meat." Oh how the blackbirds do envelop Harvey’s dark writing that we all love so!

No, Let England Shake is not a heavy or disturbing album simply because the music is kept light and happy... and yes that accompanied with white roses was a great Mothers Day gift. The album made its long awaited debut in February so if you haven't gotten the album yet I'm really not sure what you've been waiting on! It's one you will respect and then also continue to love. Go get it and let the penmanship and beautiful, somewhat tame sounds, sink into your sound canal.

Expect Polly’s usual soaring, siren vocals with a slight hint of her peers and successors fragrance : Kate Bush, Lene Lovivch, Joanna Newsome  and  as always there's her intricate song structures. This is no Dylan electric just because Polly has developed a new language.  It's just fresh, new penmanship and subject matter that goes to a strong, new political place. Polly studied Afghani and Iraqi peoples voices and poets so that she would have a strong sense of what her new poems would be like before putting the music to them. Her heart, soul and mind took these contemporary poets words as offerings and used them as a guide to approach the new language she ventures into, selecting her  words first then having the instrumentation follow and you don't have to be English or care about its history to become enchanted by Harvey's conjuring spell.

One of the many things I can certainly attest to is that our soulful Polly Jean has always known how to bring herself and her listener into a kneeling, hand shaking prayer position using words. Her backing band featuring Mick Harvey (former Bad Seeds guitarist), long-term collaborator John Parish and Jean-Marc Butty have strong roots.  There is nothing that is coming up from the ground when they are together....perhaps we can say then that this is the album where Polly Jean’s roots grow up. Let England Shake isn't dreamy like White Chalk. It's a very lucid album and I think the timing is perfect. I think it's high time we all woke up from the land of ghosts and thieves to see what's going around and down in the world, even if it is somewhat veiled by the music. An experienced Harvey listener won't have to navigate, an experienced Harvey listener is already awake and has taken a look around, knows what's going down. And then there are those that gotta be shaken up in order to wake up from all the ether of the past, the ones who are still being seduced by the media, the ones that are prisoners and clueless. Who knows, maybe this album will speak a language that will shake and wake them...It's true, the heaviness of Harvey’s lyrics, combined with the lightness of the music, mimics our strange world today.

 In the past, whenever I've wanted to be carried away into another landscape, PJ has always been there rooted as one of the most intelligent, creative women in rock and roll. This is one of her best albums to date as she continues to grow, grow and grow with a language that really is universal. The album holds up extremely well with repeat plays. I think she's done a brilliant job shifting us from the ether to the real world. It's clear and powerful in her prose and poetry. I hope we see more of her new language in the future and contrary to what's been said about Polly Jean she's not a contradiction or a mess , she's a storyteller and a damn good one at that! This time her story telling is one universal voice but no contradictions, no mess....just a strong rooted 41 year old Harvey whose roots have grown up.  In a world where so many people are seduced by mass applause, Harvey isn't one of them. I have to ask as I think she might too..."Look around you ... do you like the world around you?"  I like it when Harvey’s in with me, Faultless, Honest and Utterly.

© Words Wendy Rose Watson/ ZANI Media


Still finding my 'voice' as I know this prose isn't quite perfection and a kind thank you to ZANI Ezine  for letting this outside voice of mine in their beyond cool publication!