Jessie Evans, The Vanishing Lady, Returns To California

Posted by Aaron Detroit, July 23, 2009 11:23am | Post a Comment
Greetings and Salutations!! Welcome to the inaugural post of Amoeba’s Black Light District, a new weekly(ish) blog where we shall traverse in the darker realms of the musical & subcultural universe (i.e. Death Rock, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Transgressive Fiction, Dark Wave, Apocalyptic Folk, Goth, Black Metal, B-Movies, Doom Disco, Synthpop, Ethereal Nu-Gaze, Neo-New Beat, Death-Twee, Infernal Drone and all manner of night-friendly sounds and darkly delights! *cue Evil Doctor laugh). Come forth, for we own the night!

This week, California’s prodigal dark queen,
Jessie Evans, jessie evans is it fire?returns for shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles to promote her debut solo LP, Is It Fire? (Fantomette Records). Jessie spent nearly a decade in the California Punk and Death-Rock scenes honing her chops singing and wailing James Chance-style on her trusty saxophone (as well as a few other instruments!) in bands like The Vanishing and the now rather legendary Subtonix.

The Vanishing relocated from San Francisco to Berlin in 2004 but split up soon after, leaving Jessie free for new ventures.
Autonervous, initially a solo project, blossomed into a collaborative project between Evans and Bettina Koster (of the '80s German band MALARIA!). The duo released an LP and toured in 2006. Autonervous marked a heavy shift in direction for Ms. Evans -- her songwriting became more sultry and less incendiary, her lyrics more minimal and focused. Also bubbling under the dancey beats was a new sense of joy. Egads! Her grimace was turning into a smile!

On Is It Fire? that smile has turned into full-on laughte
r, and audibly s
o! It’s not an evil-kind of laughter either, on the interlude track “Micheladas,” Evans can be heard clinking glasses and laughing joyously. The album is indeed a celebration of dark glamour, love and sexuality, from the daring come-on of "Scientist of Love" and the House-y statement of intent, “Let Me On,” on to the horn-y swing of the Autonervous re-take “Golden Snake” and the dark and dreamy sway of “Black Sand” with its chant of “It’s time to get into your body.”

Evans didn’t party completely alone though; in fact, she brought in some heavy-hitters, literally. Both
Toby Dammit (Swans, Iggy Pop), and Budgie (Siouxsie & The Banshees) share time behind the drum-kit on the album. Evans’ arrangements focus heavily on beat and rhythm, which adds greatly to the primal and sexual mood of the album, whilst Budgie ‘s presence definitely lends to some Creatures-esque moments. Also under Evans' employ is horn-blower Martin Wenk (Calexico), and an International Children’s choir. This lady throws one crazy shindig!

Half of Is It Fire? was recorded at home in Berlin while the other half was recorded in Jessie’s newest beloved city, Tijuana (Evans pays tribute en Español on 3 tracks). Evans’ ridiculously long list of credible contributors gets longer with production and mixing duties handled by Thomas Stern (Einstürzende Neubauten, Crime and The City Solution) in Berlin and Pepe Mogt (Nortec Collective) in Tijuana.

Regardless of its more famous contributors, Is It Fire? at the end of the day is still Jessie’s party. Her vocals are steamy, not screamy, and her saxophone is booty-shakin’, not siren-screechin’. Is It Fire? stands (so far) as Evans’ crown jewel in an already stellar back-catalog.

Jessie Evans is bringing the Fire party (with Toby Dammit in-tow!) to the Eagle Tavern in San Francisco tonight and to Los Angeles’ Silver Factory Studios on Friday. Don’t forget to bring your party-hat (and/or mask) and dancing shoes!

LIMITED copies on CD and LP of Is It Fire? will hopefully be on the shelves by next week at both Amoeba SF and Amoeba Hollywood!

Also next week, Amoeba Hollywood should be getting very limited copies of Cold Cave’s debut LP Love Comes Close. Look for a review of that right here next week, but consensus around the Hollywood Store for those that have heard the LP is that it’s a heavy contender for Album Of The Year.

Amoeba Hollywood’s Goth/Industrial Section Featured New Releases:

Rome - Flowers from Exile CD [Trisol]
Great New Full-Length at DOMESTIC price!

Les Paradisiers - More Tales From The Garden LIMITED vinyl LP + MP3 card [Disques De Lapin]
Awesome full-length new collaboration between Thomas Nola and O Paradis! Swinging dark cabaret!

Tor Lundvall - Sleeping and Hiding Limited vinyl LP [Dais]
Dais is flawless! Not a bad release in the bunch! Dreamy bliss in the vein of Talk Talk’s later stuff and Slowdive’s Pygmalion.

Death In June - Braun Buch Zwei CD [Neroz]
(Digitally remastered edition was the bonus CD accompanying the 20th Anniversary Stone Circle Edition of DIJ’s seminal Brown Book album issued in 2007, and contains 7 songs from the original album coupled with 7 remixed, re-recorded and rare versions of the remaining songs. Basically, it’s Brown Book II. The completely recycled paper booklet and 'Repak' is brown with black 'Ultra Coated' images and runes featuring never-before-seen photos from the period.)

Dense Vision Shrine - Unwinding The Inside LIMITED CD [r.a.p.]

Njurmannen - Terror in The Dollhouse [Old Europa Cafe]

Naevus - Truffles of Love (Remastered Reissue) [Old Europa Cafe]

In Next Week, Amoeba Hollywood:

Nachtmahr - Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit CD [Trisol]

Cold Cave -
Love Comes Close LP [Heartworm/Insound] (Limited Copies on This!)

We.Got.this.Far -
Bluntforcevolume CD [Spiral Chords]

Coming Soon:

New Minimal Wave Titles!

Hot Used Section Tip: Amoeba Hollywood has a few copies of the excellent Rhino 4-Disc box set A Life Less Lived-- full of goodies by The Cure, Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, et al. 3 CDs of 53 Goth Essentials and 12 iconic Goth videos on DVD packaged with an extensive book in a faux-leather lace-up slipcase! Used for only $29.99 !

Relevant Tags

Industrial (27), Cold Cave (12), Jessie Evans (4), The Vanishing (2), Goth (47), 2000s (40), Amoeba Music Hollywood (104), Los Angeles (205), San Francisco (368), Subtonix (4), Death Rock (6)