Best tunes of 2012: #29 Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra “Want it back”

<< #30    |    #28 >>

Amanda Palmer (or Amanda F*cking Palmer as she sometimes calls herself) is a divisive individual. But an individual she certainly is.

She formed The Dresden Dolls with drummer Brian Viglione in 2000 and the duo gained a rabid cult following with their “Brechtian punk cabaret” music, to which I have never ever listened to this day, but I imagine to be equal parts musicianship and performance art. They went on hiatus in 2008 (though they have reunited several times since then) and Palmer formed another short-lived duo with Jason Webley, called Evelyn Evelyn, before embarking on an even more successful solo career.

In the spring of 2012, Amanda Palmer launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the self-release of a forthcoming album she was working on with her new band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. Her goal of $100,000 was easily surpassed in a matter of hours, eventually reaching the lofty and record-breaking mark of nearly $1.2 million. It raised a lot of eyebrows and started to change the ideas of what it meant to be a musician and a fan/customer/art patron and the relationship betwixt the two in the digital age. Palmer definitely has her fans but she also has her detractors. And she didn’t do herself any favours in that regard when she asked for the whole helping arm and put the call out for volunteer musicians on each stop on her tour after raising so much coin on Kickstarter. She eventually backtracked on that when the internet was outraged but there it is.

I actually listened to most of the resulting album, “Theatre is evil”, without any of this context, well before reading about her in the news and becoming somewhat put off by some of her opinions and outspokenness and almost unreal persona. Truly, though, the album is quite a fantastic piece of work with a great many highlights. “Want it back” is track five out of fifteen and the second single to be released from it. Synth washes start the proceedings. Then come the driving piano staccatos and snappy drums and plucky guitars. Palmer’s vocals are breathlessly running from one line to the next, seamlessly snarling and yelling and barking and yelping and angelically crooning. It can be an exhausting listen but also a compelling one.

“Once when you’re gone, and I wanna do it backwards
Just like the song, we’re addicted to the L word
Up past your head, down your back
Around your ankles, ready for attack
You’re upstaged
And then you’re strangled”

The video is pretty neat too. Filmed like stop motion animation, the lyrics appear as she sings them, written all over the place, black ink from an ink well – splish, splash, splosh. The version below is the clean one. There’s an NSFW version out there for you to find as well. Because, of course there is.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.

Vinyl love: Frightened Rabbit “Painting of a panic attack”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Album Title: Painting of a panic attack
Year released: 2016
Details: Gatefold

The skinny: News for those of you now sick of seeing Frightened Rabbit gracing these pages this week: this post should wrap things up for now. And for those of you revelling in it all, a bonus post for you here. I normally do only one of these “Vinyl love” things each weekend but after yesterday’s spin, it felt a bit more-ish. “Painting of a panic attack” is Frightened Rabbit’s fifth and final album, and really, not a bad one to finish off with. Great guitar heavy and textured tunes with Scott Hutchison’s excellent songwriting and passion-filled delivery. Perhaps someone out there can explain the numerology on the album artwork? Particular the importance of the 618 on the album label?

Standout track: “Woke up hurting”

Vinyl love: Frightened Rabbit “Pedestrian verse”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Album Title: Pedestrian verse
Year released: 2013
Details: Gatefold

The skinny: So this blitz on Frightened Rabbit all started off last Monday when I posted about my recent purchase of the 10th anniversary pressing of the band’s second album, “The midnight organ fight”. Then on Thursday, I posted a bunch of pics I snapped while seeing them live at Osheaga in 2013 and while putting together that gallery, I decided to make a week of it, a kind of Frightened Rabbit remembrance celebration of sorts. To that end, here’s Frightened Rabbit’s fourth album: “Pedestrian verse”: the long player that got me into the band in the first place, and the one for which they were touring when I saw them live in 2013. This record is, according to Discogs, one of the most expensive albums in my collection, going for around 1000% more than I bought it for, if I were ever in the mood to sell it, which I can’t see happening. It’s a breakup record that just rips you up from the inside and gets you dancing on the outside.

Standout track: “The woodpile”