Music

Carla Bozulich: Boy

Boy sounds like nothing other than Bozulich’s own twisty back catalog, a culmination of a career spent distorting punk rock and country and the blues into exciting new shapes.


Carla Bozulich

Boy

Label: Constellation
US Release Date: 2014-03-04
UK Release Date: 2014-03-03
Amazon
iTunes

With Boy, Carla Bozulich has created a percussive bit of weirdo-rock, chopped and screwed by the former Geraldine Fibber as she traveled around the globe and with help from a cast of collaborators. It has the herky-jerky rhythms of a life in punctuated movement, stop-start patterns driven by exploded drums and Bozulich’s wisps and snarls. Most importantly it sounds like nothing other than Bozulich’s own twisty back catalog, her career spent distorting punk rock and country and the blues into exciting new shapes.

Here, she has distilled that urge down to its absolutes, wide-open spaces populating most tracks, interrupted by rolling drum fills and sparse guitar and synthesizer bloops. “Danceland” includes a minor chorus of background vocals and Bozulich’s growls and eventually grooves into an approximation of '70s glam rock, but heard on the other end of a very, very faulty microphone. There is nothing comforting in these sounds: Bozulich sounds like she’s performing country ballad “What Is It Baby?” to an abandoned movie theater full of skeletons. Other songs rattle and hiss with junk percussion and sound loops.

But more important than any other instrument is Bozulich’s voice, a powerful, dexterous thing she contorts to all manner of purposes. It provides all of the melody during “Don’t Follow Me” and inserts percussive smacks into the razorwire blues of “Ain’t No Grave”. It oozes menace and empathy simultaneously, somehow most beautiful when it announces “I want to fuck up the whole world” on “Deeper Than the Well”. And it utterly controls Boy, serving as guitar, bass and drums even when one or all of those instruments are present.

Over the course of her long career, Bozulich has carved out a hermetic niche all her own in the music industry. In the liner notes she points out that the album was “written recorded and mixed everywhere from … Dharamshala to NYC to Joshua Tree to Zagreb, etc,” noting that she has “moved 25, 50 or more times in each year since 2006". A person on this path could not possibly fall under the sway of media trends, and her music clearly demonstrates this. Its most simple and melodic moment comes with the near-instrumental “Number X”, with vocals arriving only at the very end, where, seated amidst quietly whirring loops and cymbal washes, Bozulich announces “Wouldn’t it be fine if at checkout time / I was doin’ what I’m doin’ right now?” This is a comfort that never approaches stagnancy, and it shows in the music, which is scary, touching and abrasive all at once. Quite an accomplishment for her “pop album”.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image