As strange as it seems, news
There was a new Nina Nastasia album, On Leaving, in the UK yesterday (and sometime soon in the US... seeing conflicting reports between 9/19 and 10/3). She's also at Subterranean on Wednesday. What I've heard of the album is typically brilliant and she's an absolute must-see if you get the chance. One night a little ways back, "I Say That I Will Go" (from Run To Ruin) brought me as close as I'll ever get to in-their-prime Slint. For a certain portion of the population, even those who saw the Slint reunion last year, that's saying something.
If I squint (does English lack an aural version of "squint"? it seems so), I can put myself in the place that dismisses her as yet another singer/songwriter with a pretty, too-delicate sound and not-quite-poetic-enough lyrics, but, in that space, the imagery of Big Black starts to seem a little flowery. If you're willing to stray from minimalism and charnel houses, stuff like "In the Graveyard" (from The Blackened Air) is real poetry from a significant voice.
I Say That I Will Go - Nina Nastasia
In the Graveyard - Nina Nastasia
Speaking of Big Black, they played the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary at the 10th Annual Hideout Block Party over the weekend. Not something I'd ever thought I'd see, and, to be quite honest, I was OK with that lack. They were always, um, powerful, but with the passage of time they've become a force of nature and I'm not one who dreams of feeling gravity fail.
I can report that a) they sounded like Big Black, b) they weren't a disappointing cover band and c) they seemed entirely comfortable with not being the lead dog of the festival. The New Year, Uzeda, the reunited Scratch Acid and, most of all, The Ex all played more vital sets. I know it's hard to imagine, but the absolutely brutal "Cables" really seemed like a love song to those who took those two stages over the weekend and to the label from whence they came. It was, god forbid, nice.