Music Reviews

Rian Murphy and Will Oldham

All Most Heaven

Drag City

This is impressive. Although there are only four songs on this EP from Oldham (ye avant-hillbilly supreme), they’re so brimming with beautiful incongruities and so richly textured that length is of little import. Call it rococo-Americana – urban, decadent, yet reminiscent of the best of the backwoods – this is Oldham at his best. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that he’s flanked by Rian Murphy (of Red Krayola and Palace fame), and Jim O’Rourke (a modern-day indie Phil Spector incarnate). O’Rourke’s arrangements are truly amazing. Listening to them alone brings to mind the classier moments of the High Lamas or the score for the movie Popeye by Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks. It’s a mini-orchestra: swaggering, elegant, and in parlor music mode. One of the most intriguing aspects of All Most Heaven is the mix of high and low art. It’s astounding, at first, when Oldham’s warbled, soar-throat voice comes astride the refined instrumentation. Picturing professional musicians getting paid to lay down these luxuriant tracks to have Oldham yodel his way through them is delightful.

Will Oldham has always had a tiny child-prodigy and a little preacher inside of him. As a kid-evangelist in the film Matewan (1987), there was a foreshadowing of the Appalachian-prophet to come. Some of the songs on All Most Heaven are tinged with divine calling. Perhaps the lyrics to the third track, “Song of Most,” are autobiographical: “I knew what I wanted to do when I was only three years old.” It’s good to see that Pushkin’s got his groove back and knows again what he wants to do (who he wants to be is an entirely different matter for the man with a thousand aliases). For those whose faith in the post-_Palace_ material has been waning, this could be the record that ushers you back into the fold.

Drag City, P.O. Box 476807, Chicago, IL 60647; http://www.dragcity.com


Recently on Ink 19...

The Tale of King Crab

The Tale of King Crab

Screen Reviews

The winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2021 Viennale, The Tale of King Crab has documentarians Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis creating their first hybrid-fiction feature, which expands on the provocative mythologies birthed in the town of Vejano, Italy. Generoso and Lily review this immersive and imaginative film.

New Music Now 008: doubleVee

New Music Now 008: doubleVee

Features

Join Ink 19 with Barb and Allan Vest for new music from Sydney, Australia band Bloods, Prey composer Sarah Schachner, and doubleVee’s own latest release, Treat Her Strangely. What was your first cassette tape, hmm?

Hold Me Tight

Hold Me Tight

Screen Reviews

Lily and Generoso review Hold Me Tight, the sixth feature directed by renowned actor Mathieu Amalric. Centered around a brilliant performance from Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread, Bergman Island), Hold Me Tight is an unpredictable and remarkable psychological drama.