Hannah Marcus’ sorely underrated album, Desert Farmers, yielded a spectacular number called “Hairdresser in Taos”, a nightmarish tune that majestically unfurls to reveal a harsh soundscape of bitter blues and scorched jazz. In the artful mess is a surreal and hallucinatory tale of a drug-addict and his jaded, disillusioned girlfriend setting out across the deserts of New Mexico. Along the way the drug-addict is dropped off and the girlfriend tails a mysterious hairdresser back to his house where she is given a dye-job. At this point, the song takes an eerie, almost sinister turn and Marcus’ unsettling recount that he “stuck my head in the sink and he put red dye all over my hair / and when I sat up it ran into my eyes and I looked in the mirror and I started to cry” is enough to turn the vertebrae to ice. From the moment she flees the house, the panic in the song peaks to a feverish pitch and the sprawling, atmospheric beauty of her nine-minute opus truly blossoms into the masterful study on modern Americana that it is. You don’t just hear this sort of music, you experience it.
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