The Black Heart Procession: Three

Erik Gamlem

The Black Heart Procession


Label: Touch And Go
US Release Date: 2000-09-05

The closest I ever got to walking the edge of a horrible drunken loneliness was from listening to the Nick Cave song "I Let Love In" when I was about 17 or so. One night, when I put on this Black Heart Procession album after a particularly long workday, I was taken back to that moment, song after song. See, the reason I survived the horrible sadness, misery and loneliness of the great Nick Cave was because the next track on the album "Thirsty Dog" was a racket of anger and loud guitars a la Blixa Bargeld.

But, see, the Black Heart Procession doesn't bring you out of the trenches of the misery they project. The worst part about that is too, that they want you to think it's a self-inflicted kind of sorrow, but it's not. No, I am convinced that it is the music. The music is beautiful.

When guitar lines can be literally anything under the sun, that is great musicianship. On "Guess I'll Forget You," the guitars are lonely. Each note sustained to pull at your emotional strings, and perfectly accentuating the carefully and sorrowful vocal line. The humming of organ in the middle ground becomes more haunting by the addition of the light time keeping of a lonely snare. Throw in a bit of echo on the percussion and you are ready to turn inside yourself forever.

I don't recommend this record for the broken-hearted or the lonely or the chronically depressed. The seemingly never ending opening of "Once Said at the Fires" is enough to make even a seemingly happy person want to do themselves in. The somber and softly sung lyrics sneak into the picture and tears will begin to swell in your eyes.

It doesn't matter what a person is moved to create. Weather it is happiness or sorrow that a musician finds as their creative muse, when the art is created with such a powerful will then something worth while has been brought into the world. The Black Heart Procession has mastered their muse and they continue to weave a never ending web of beautiful sorrow.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

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

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