Monday, September 24, 2007

Tanglewood Numbers

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Cortney Tidwell
Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled

UK critic darlings are a tricky thing. Slap an NME-mark-of-approval on willy nilly, and you’re likely to alienate the soy latte hipsters you’re so desperately trying to attract. (Hipsters can smell your desperation like an Arthur-reading basset hound.)
But if given the proper breeding ground, UK critic darlings endure the second-coming-of-The-Muse overhype that turns hipsters off faster than you can say the words “Toad the Wet Sprocket” and “reunion tour.”
UK music journalist fave Cortney Tidwell is the real deal, however. Her US release Don’t Let the Stars Keeps Us Tangled is a slow burn of beer-soaked tears, c’untry music and trippy electro-pop hooks.
Ms. Tidwell’s fragile voice sounds like the Ozark version of Bjork, too. It’s lovely and damn near bizarre at the same time.
Ms. Tidwell’s mama was a failed country music ‘sanger’ and her grandpappy a rotating musician derelict for the Grand Ole Opry. And listening to Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled, it’s obvious that this girl’s got the broodin’ in her blood.
On the title track and ‘La La,’ Ms. Tidwell’s voice trembles in the lower registers before soaring into a breathy trance at the prodding of her psychotropic backing orchestra. It’s as if something supernal is taking place with the way Ms. Tidwell merges her chamber-Americana and nu-folk leanings.
Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled was recorded in Nashville, Tenn. And it isn’t shocking that Ms. Tidwell’s caravan of sidemen includes countrypolitan indie-band, Lambchop, yet another band that constantly nudges the dead corpse of country music.
Lambchop and Ms. Tidwell are two peas-in-a-pod. They’re constantly expanding the definition of what it means to make country music in the dawn of the techno-age with sounds so left-of-center that Music Row execs can only shoot their dumbfuck gazes in response.

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