Tag Archives: antony & the johnsons

2009 Was The Sort of Year That Passed In One Month Increments

Music For Infants: My preliminary field notes indicate that babies, by and large, don’t give a shit about music. However, there are two exceptions in Vashti Bunyan and David Tibet, particularly Sleep Has His House. Weirds me the hell out, it does. Not because Sleep is a bad album, or because it is rightfully considered one of Current 93‘s finest works and this indicates supernatural prescience, but because it’s about a dead father, sung by his living son.

But it soothes the savage beast, and so I worry not.

This past year was one of preparation and rediscovery. Health and Death and yet another triumphant Boredoms experience. Throbbing Gristle, set in motion during my own infancy, played “Discipline” in an old Masonic Temple and drew a circle around what I imagined my youth to be. Will Oldham demonstrated extreme American exceptionalism while millions inexplicably mourned a dead pedophile; Antony showed an overwhelming capacity for international superstardom, hemmed in only by being a beautiful woman who doesn’t look like one. Continue reading

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Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light

the-crying-lightAntony has a tear-strained voice that will forever overwhelm anything the rest of his ensemble may do. That’s the nature of vocal-driven music. Even the minor instrumental patters here and there on The Crying Light never actually go beyond setting the stage for the next reappearance of his pained, absurdist melodrama.

Some might complain this is smoother and far more poppy than I Am A Bird Now, but isn’t that the point of personality-driven cabaret music? It’s about setting the scene for a voice and for words, so people can make their own private movies in their heads and be subsumed by that collaborative narrative.

I hope one day they’re really huge, like Leonard Cohen huge. Mr. Cohen is a neat vocalist (with terrible taste in arrangements) but $250 tickets is absolutely absurd. That kind of absurd success would be a tidy ironic fit for this increasingly pop, gender-falutin’ post-cabaret conspiracy.

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Antony & The Johnsons – Live @ Town Hall, February 20, 2009

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Many years back I knew a gay Buddhist who lived in the East Village. He was the first person to play Antony & The Johnsons for me, and at the time I had no way to process it. I wasn’t familiar with the whole faux cabaret tradition, the post-Klaus Nomi camp theatrics and all that stuff. But something he said stuck with me, after I had finished listening to “Cripple and the Starfish” in his bedroom.

“Antony”, he said, with this strange gleam in his eyes, “is a true superstar in every sense of the word. He’s a superstar.”

I get what he means by that now. Continue reading

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