Thursday, May 3, 2012

Songs #180 & 181 - It's Thursday, but I'm posting like it's TWOsday!

Song #180 of 9999                                                  Song #181 of 9999

Title: Dress                                                              Title: Cut My Teeth
Artist: PJ Harvey                                                     Artist: Peggy Sue
Year: 1992                                                               Year: 2011
Album: Dry                                                              Album: Acrobats

There's this English band I'm enjoying right now called Peggy Sue. I heard them on NPR about eight months ago and thought their blend of dissonant guitar work with unusual (and equally dissonant) vocal harmonies from the two female singers in the band was absolutely original and frightfully compelling. Although I had forgotten until now, I remember the interviewer talking to them about how much their new record sounds like PJ Harvey and the girls acknowledging her influence on them. I didn't think too much about it—I kind of missed out on PJ Harvey and couldn't recall her sound while listening to the interview.

So here I am reviewing the music of 1992, which includes Harvey's debut Dry and it's like listening to a twenty-year-old time capsule recorded by Peggy Sue. The dissonant backing vox are missing but the tribal rhythms and droney guitars are all there. Harvey has perhaps a more versatile approach to singing and the chorus in "Dress" is hookier than anything I've heard from Peggy Sue. But it's interesting comparing the two artists side-by-side and noting such a clear and direct influence. 

It's also really exciting to discover an artist in retrospect and listen with the ears of an older man. I don't think PJ Harvey would have appealed to me in 1992. But twenty years later, her music seems just right.

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