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Ask Forgiveness, by Bonnie Prince Billy

Posted by Miss Ess, November 29, 2007 07:20pm | Post a Comment
Most of this week I have been listening to the new EP Ask Forgiveness by Bonnie Prince Billy, just repeating it over and over.  It features 7 covers and one new original.

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The best tracks are the Danzig cover "Am I Demon", and the Phil Ochs cover "My Life".  Yeah, there's an R. Kelly cwill oldham bonnie prince billyover on there too, of "The World's Greatest", and it's funny and semi ironic and all, but I like other stuff on the cd much better. 

Bonnie Prince Billy is always both covering and writing songs about identity and struggling with that whole thing! Previous tracks "Little Boy Blue" and "Wolf Among Wolves" both are about those kind of issues.  Anyway, the Danzig track is slow and pretty and asks "Am I Demon?/I need to know".  We all get the somewhat resigned answer by the end of the song. I love when BPB ends the phrases by singing waaay up high.  It's lovely.  It's fun to hear a song about demons that's all folky and acoustic and notphil ochs all the news that's fit to sing screamed! 

I'm a fan of Phil Ochs (See the name of my blog!), and it's great to hear someone like BPB covering him since he was such a talent and so brilliant and cutting.  His lyrics are better than about 90% of everyone else's, give or take a few percentage points, of course.  Anyway, "My Life" is a beautiful choice, and I guess it's yet another song about identity, about what life means and changes and paranoia and growing up.  I guess it covers a lot of ground!  It's really a poem:

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Will Oldham: One Man, Many Names

Posted by Miss Ess, October 19, 2007 02:00pm | Post a Comment
will oldham bonnie prince billy

Someone's been very kind to me today:  I received a package in the mail chock full of Bonnie Prince Billy bootlegs and singles!  Very exciting day, and how perfect is it that it's drizzling and grey out?  It's ideal for BPB listening, at least to me for whatever reason.

That's not to say his music is depressing though.  It can be dark, but for the most part for me it's actually uplifting and really almost unbeatable.  It's got a loose feel to it, a risky feeling.  Feels like everything's on the brink of falling apart, but it never does.  Fantastic.

matt sweeney will oldham esalen bonnie prince billy superwolf In case you are unaware, Bonnie Prince Billy goes under many names, so his albums can be difficult to find and collect.  Some of these names/projects include: Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, Bonnie Billy, and Will Oldham (his real name).  He also collaborates often with others, like Amalgamated Sons of Rest, Matt Sweeney (that's Matt in the pics on the left and below), David Pajo and, more recently, Tortoise.  Oh yeah and he just contributed vocals to a record by Scout Niblett as well!  You can see how it's tough to keep up with the guy.  Oh yeah, and some of his best songs can be found on out of print 45s.

These bootlegs I just got are from the I See A Darkness and Ease Down The Road period.  I LOVE Isuperwolf bonnie prince billy matt sweeney will oldham See A Darkness, and Ease Down the Road is a solid record for him.  He's put out so many, you see!  His output can be fairly staggering to the uninitiated.  I'll try to break down a few of my favorites at the end of the post.

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Old Joy Is the New, Softer, Gentler Joy....

Posted by Miss Ess, May 24, 2007 08:03pm | Post a Comment
So I went to see Old Joy back when it was at the Red Vic.  It's out on DVD now and it's really different from any movie I can think of at the (tired) moment.  In a good way.

old joy will oldham

I'd like to stress again here on my blog (strongly) that I am not a Yoga Mat Person, but I will say thisyoga freak mat movie has a meditational feeling to it.  By that, I mean while you watch it there is so much silence and there are so many moments of a quiet kind of reflection that when you finish watching it you really do feel like you went somewhere else on a journey.

The journey of the film takes place in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.  Old friends from way back Mark and Kurt meet up and go camping.  They haven't seen each other in a long time and it's obvious that their lives have branched far away from one another in those years apart.  What's great about this film is that the issues that  this growing apart have caused are never directly addressed.  Instead, the filmmaker Kelly Reichardt allows the viewer to use those gorgeous silent moments to absorb thoughts and scenery and to reflect, bring about one's own ideas, and draw one's own conclusions.  I love it when movies don't preach their message to you,slam you over the head with whatever it is they are trying to get you to feel,  and this one is brilliant in that regard.

old joy will oldham

old joy will oldhamThe film definitely sparked my own memories aboutsteve urkel similar experiences.  It got the awkward silences right for sure. Mark is the Reformed And Now Responsible Guy and Kurt is the Wild Dude That Never Grew Up Totally.  Kurt is still flying by the seat of his pants and Mark is uncomfortably wearing his like Urkel.  I read a review a few weeks ago that said how the viewer sees both Mark and Kurt by the end of the film will say a lot about how that viewer sees life in general and I think that is a fair and interesting commentwill oldham bonnie prince billy

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