Jolie Holland

Early Show

Jolie Holland

Katie Von Schleicher

Fri, April 14, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$15.00

This event is 21 and over

Jolie Holland - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Jolie Holland
"…like a creek-dipping at Birdland." — TOM WAITS

"What all good music has in common is that it captures and conveys both the nature that is in us and the nature that surrounds us. Anemones and cockles in tidal pools at dusk on unknown but recognizable tidal pools seen with closed or open eyes. When a breeze of soft magic caresses, we care not where it came from or where it goes. Jolie Holland's music captures and conveys, and it is one of those breezes." — NICK TOSCHES

Over the span of her career, Jolie Holland has knotted together a century of American song—jazz, blues, soul, rock and roll—into some stew that is impossible to categorize with any conventional critical terminology. This is her burden and her gift, to know all of these American songs of the last ten decades in her head and her heart, and to have to wrestle with their legacy. She dives straight to the pathos of a song the way the very greatest singers, singers like Mavis Staples, or Al Green, or Skip James, or Tom Waits do. Upon first encounter her songs seem challenging, perhaps unsettling at times, but as so many poets and rockers have shown us (from Dante Alighieri to William Blake to Sylvia Plath to Patti Smith to Nick Cave to Mark E. Smith) that's where the beauty lies. As evident on her first recordings, Holland apparently has no fear of the truth, and there is no emotional core that she cannot reach in song. In fact she thrives on the red hot center of a musical composition, in all its strange and brutal detail. Note how easily the line "I've been taken outside and I've been brutalized" trips off her tongue in Joe Tex's "The Love You Save."

Which brings us to Wine Dark Sea. Astute listeners to Holland's work can recognize how her writing over the years has deepened, matured, become the songwriting of a wise, worldly adult, not just of a rambler across the American latitudes, but to understand this is still no preparation for the sonic assault, the unprecedented confidence and merciless brilliance of Wine Dark Sea which yokes the New York underground to American song in a way that has rarely been attempted since White Light/White Heat by the Velvet Underground. Yes, the classic Holland lyrical concerns are evident in songs like "Palm Wine Drunkard," and "St. Dymphna," and "Out on the Wine Dark Sea," all of which mix a density of literature and poetry to brutalities of romantic love, to the fragmentation of self and narrator in a torrent of loss and grief, but this tells us nothing about the band Holland has assembled and leads to express her present vision. Two drummers, sometimes as many as three or four electric guitars, horns of a sort that come out of free jazz and the No Wave scene as much as they come from soul music, and a refreshing need, on Holland's part, to sing out at the extreme of her range, above the squalling insatiable lullaby of the thing. And, just when you think you know how to listen to multiple incendiary devices as occasionally rise up out of the category five of it all—guitar playing that makes Zuma or On the Beach sound somewhat restrained—there are the ballads: graceful, melancholy, wistful. There has been no album of the recent decade with quite this sonic ambition, with quite this command of what a rock and roll song is and ought to be, but Wine Dark Sea is all of that, with a little bit of Homer and Maya Deren mixed in too.

Jolie Holland has a Desperation to tell Now. And she has called on deep, dark forces to get there. It's always a pleasure to hear a musician come to a new precipice in her output, where great skills and great courage are required to rise to the occasion. Wine Dark Sea is the album of a lifetime, with a lifetime of work in it.
Katie Von Schleicher - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Katie Von Schleicher
Released on cassette last year, Katie Von Schleicher’s Bleaksploitation took the tape world by enough of a storm to thunder demand for more formats. "Bleaksploitation is earnest pop for the wonderfully doomed generation," says DIY Magazine; Stereogum calls the debut "stellar" and "invigoratingly terrifying"; Consequence of Sound described her songs as “like ghosts trying to communicate through a cassette deck”; Paste claims they “sound like a vintage girl group playing in the basement of a haunted house.” This is exciting music from someone we’ll be hearing about for a long time to come.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002
http://mercuryloungenyc.com