Where do I begin? All Songs Go To Heaven was, to me, quite unprecedented. Honestly, I didn’t even know about its release until Greg posted a preview for Lizz King’s album release party at the Windup Space.
Shows how informed I am. I’m just glad to not have missed out. Now, although there are a number of routes I might take to describe the accomplishment that is All Songs Go To Heaven, none of the obvious directions sit well with me for more than a sentence or two. This record’s brilliance is an odd breed, and I’ve been hunching over my laptop for hours thinking about how I can explain that more substantially. I’m utterly baffled to this moment.
How’s this: All Songs Go To Heaven plays just as well as a singles collection as it does an independent piece of art. Normally that sentence would gather a few intrigued rereads, but what’s even more impressive is that Lizz King’s sound is anti-homogenous in the most extreme sense. And, it being the case that I can’t locate the words in me to present a bona-fide album review, I’d rather talk about how moving each of the tracks are standalone.
Lizz King is a joy to behold; her opening performance for Daniel Johnston back in 2008 was an astounding moment that still sticks with me today. So, it is with equal joy that I announce local label Ehse Records is finally releasing her debut full-length All Songs Go To Heaven. It is a smoky, almost labyrinthine charmer of an album that channels the spirit of Lizz’s live presence better than I could have imagined. Nearly every track crackles with that raw and naked, imperfect sound that she plys so well. You can almost feel her fingers trailing on her ukulele strings; you can almost see her body alternating between desperate sexual thrusting and slow, hypnotic swaying.
Lizz is easily one of the most complex and compelling acts to rise from within the Wham City ranks. An endlessly imaginative enigma, she operates by stitching together disparate elements of the heart-achingly open country-bluegrass tradition (likely acquired from time spent in rural Maryland and West Virginia), the effervescent, fuzzed-out electronic experimentalism made infamous by her Wham City cohorts, heavy-hitting aspects of soul, and even bumping beats of club music.
You would be wise to head over to the Windup Space this Friday Jan 8th for the official record release show, featuring support from Holy Sheet, Videohippos, and Bethany Dinsick. This also doubles as a send-off show for Lizz’s US tour. For those unfamiliar with Ehse (who released the excellent Harrius and Sejayno records last year), their MP3 downloads operate on the “name-your-price” business model. Real, physical medium (vinyl and CD) costs real, set prices though. All can be had through their website, or at the True Vine.
Check out two sides of Lizz right here, right now: the precious “Till They Do” and the heavy “Mr. Fella.”
Don’t miss the official album release party at the Windup Space on Fri Oct 16th featuring Lizz King, AK Slaughter, and Lesser Gonzalez!
Aural States: What motivated you to do a full remix of the Baltimore Highlands album? You were releasing remixes sporadically for download on the Wham City label site. What made you want to undertake this project too?
Their live shows are absurdist carnival freakshows from the surreal and paranoid tail-end of an acid binge. The spectacle, when you are experiencing it, makes the music feel ancillary. This is a group that self-avowedly began in the trappings of concise, party-driven songcraft awash with feedback and artificially-siamese vocalists.
How, then, do Nuclear Power Pants possibly transition this to recorded medium? Well, in today’s climate you roll with it, as noise and absurdity are approaching a level of ubiquity in music today not unlike the presence of guitars in rock.
Enjoy some excellent video footage shot by N.O. Smith. Check out his Vimeo or Youtube for more!
NO Smith: These are some videos I shot over the weekend at Whartscape. I tried to shoot as many full sets as I could, and get at least a song or two of some other sets. Exhaustion prevented me from filming everything that I wanted to, but I think I got some good stuff. A personal favorite is the Dog Dick set. That might be my favorite set I’ve ever filmed. Another gem I have is a video of a dude groovin hard to Boogie Boarder. Imagine Denny Bowen but more bro and strung out looking.
Hunting for safety from the sun’s rays made me feel something like an animal Sunday. I was leaning against the old rusted fence in the MICA parking lot, watching Santa Dads do their own thing–and it is totally theirs to keep, when I became aware of all the Wham City members working their butts off in the draining heat. I remember running into (who I believe was) Stefani Levin of Wham City at the Load of Fun on Saturday night. She was clearly fatigued, and (not knowing who she was) I asked “hell of a show, right?” She exhaled loudly and replied, “I’m working.” You might imagine what hell organizing and executing this monstrous Whartscape must have been. For those of us who attended, I think it’s time to give a quick thanks to the people that put this rad fest on.
Walking into the MICA North Ave. parking lot was like stepping into an alternate universe to me. Accustomed to the outstandingly complete normalcy of Carroll County living, everything involved at Saturday’s Whartscape was akin to alien scenery in my eyes. If anyone attending knew who I was or what I looked like–and you probably didn’t, you crazy ass MICA kids, I apologize for probably having stared just a tad too much.
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