Sometimes I like to think I'm pretty ahead of the curve on knowing what is out there as far as music goes. And then I find out one of everyone's favorite artists, Jenny Lewis, has a new album coming out in just two weeks, and I wonder: how ahead of the curve could I really be? Two weeks? What a poseur...
No matter, though, because the main point is we should all rejoice in this new hearlding of joy...new Jenny Lewis material! Excuse the Biblical connotations there, but that is the level of my excitement for this news. After all, Lewis does have the voice of an angel, doesn't she?
She does...but Acid Tongue is an apt title for this album, which sees Lewis exploring a grity, blue-collar rock'n'roll sound, something more akin to the gospel-fired blues of the Rolling Stones or Emmylou Harris than anything Rilo Kiley has done (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and White Stripes seem more modern touchstones.) It's a dark angel kind of thing. Also haunting this album are the spirits of Carole King, Carly Simon, Chrissie Hynde and, seriously, Diane Keaton (check Lewis' hat above and compare to the singing Annie Hall).
And check out the amazing list of guest stars on this album! I about died when I realized Elvis Costello had started singing...
The gospel is clearly carried forward from Lewis' work with the Watson Twins on 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat, but the heavy guitar blues fog that cloaks her in this album feels brand new, suitable to Lewis' voice and aesthetics. She seems slightly mysterious and aloof on a lot of this album, which I don't think I'd normally accuse her recordings of, but I like it here. Key tracks for me (on first listen) are: "Pretty Bird," "The Next Messiah," "Acid Tongue" (4.5 stars there), "Godspeed" (5+++), and "Carpetbaggers." And everything else, too.
But, friends, do not take my word for it!!! You can listen to all of the album at:
Jenny Lewis' Myspace.
And then on 9/23/08 we'll have another entrant for album of the year!!!
UPDATE: Today, Sept. 16, I doubled-back to the MySpace to listen to the new album again...and sadly found that they've taken most of the new album down. It was apparently a limited-time thing only. Still, you can check out a couple new tracks, at least!