Lesbian duo’s 2nd disc comes with a gorgeous mess of Southern blues
In the gulf between indie rock and Delta blues, queer North Carolina duo The Moaners churn out the thick, lo-fi sounds one imagines emanating from a backwoods juke joint. Composed of guitarist-singer Melissa Swingle and drummer Lisa King, the pair makes up for their minimalist lineup with a riot of fuzz-drenched rhythms pushed along by muscular, driving drums.
Following up on their impressive 2005 debut, “Dark Snack,” the Moaners return with “Blackwing Yalobusha,” bringing blues influences further to the forefront. A more diverse set of tracks than “Dark Snack,” this sophomore effort show’s they’ve improved their signature formula while hitting an exhilarating stride.
The record opens with the initially underwhelming “Yankee on My Shoulder.”
Starting off with a sloppy single-string guitar solo, the track quickly gets its footing, evolving into a swaggering slide-guitar rocker.
Deceptive simplicity turns out to be the hallmark of this album, with track after track revealing itself to be more than the sum of its bare-bones parts.
Consider the mid-tempo “French Song” a standard rock waltz that unravels into pulsing, gyrating rhythms. Trudging rockers “Brainwash,” “When We’re Dead and Gone” seem easy substitutes for the effortless indie rock of Kim Deal’s Breeders. On the fun side of things, “Foxy Brown” celebrates the fictional female badass with a hyperactive tambourine and cowbell scorcher.
Recorded in just three days, “Blackwing Yalobusha” isn’t a tight record. And it was never meant to be. Though King’s drumming remains impressively precise, Swingle is all over the place not only her guitar work, but also in her twangy, less-than-masterful vocals. This looseness gives “Blackwing Yalobusha” a welcome immediacy that The White Stripes couldn’t pay enough money to copy.
Like the gritty blues The Moaners so clearly seek to emulate, “Blackwing Yalobusha” is at its most pure when it’s paying more attention to its soul than to getting every note right. A dense, groaning, gorgeous mess of an album, this record cuts to the very heart of the gritty spirit of American blues and rock.
“Homorevolution Tour 2007”
It’s no secret that hip-hop is rife with homophobia. Some performers like Kanye West have acknowledged that homophobia ultimately harms the hip-hop cause. But so far, there has been little change. Anti-gay bias has been so pervasive that high-profile artists long assumed to be queer have stayed closeted out of fear of losing audiences.
Responding to this hostility, a group of queer hip-hop artists have banded together to flex their collective skills with this summer’s Homo Revolution tour. A preview to the 10-city tour of the Southwestern U.S., the group released a compilation disc of acts scheduled to appear at the various gigs.
The 16 artists on “Homorevolution” are proud and determined to succeed on their own terms. Tracks range from political firebombs like Tori Fixx’s “Code Red” and Delacruz’s “Gay Pride” to sexy club tracks like Johnny Dangerous’ “Topsy Turvey” and Feloni’s “Pussi Can.”
British MC Q Boy brings an international flair, while female Californians MC Flow and JFP (JulieFuckingPotter) represent for the white girls. Even trans performers get a spot, with Foxxjazelle’s “Faded Jaded” being another record standout.
Make a point of getting familiar with these artists before the Homorevolution tour hits Dallas on April 8.
MOZ IN BIG D
Hey, Morrissey freaks! The Prince of Celibacy is coming to town on May 25 at the Palladium Ballroom. Since he’s an overwhelming sensation with Mexican border towns no joke! Moz’s Texas gigs are sure to sell out quickly. Tickets go on sale March 31 at 10 a.m., $39.50, advance; $45, day of show.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 30, 2007