This is a blog devoted to music on the edge - experimental, underground, alternative, subversive, or just plain weird - new music that tries new things, or old music that broke old rules. It's a place to discuss ideas, share discoveries, to think about what makes music interesting and challenging but still good to listen to. Join in and have your say!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Savage Love

There are some people who can tell the story of broken love so well that it almost makes you want to have your own heartbreak, just to see if that's really how it sounds. People who know how to wallow and rage, soaked in whisky, wrenching every entrail from their gut and heaving it into their throat, pouring out rough, ragged music, worn raw by the hard-living, fucked-up lives and loves of country-blues.

That's how Cash Savage sings her songs - music of the heartbreakers as much as of the heartbroken, and all of it is very, very good.

Her debut album Wolf, which she recorded with her support troupe, The Last Drinks, has only just been released, and it takes no prisoners. This music would kill you if it could get its hands on you - gutsy, guttural, unglamorous music, unsentimental stories of lost love.

Cash Savage has that rare and remarkable ability to start a song in the gutter and then keep taking you deeper and deeper into the depths, with her bleary, bluesy voice finding limitless stores of brutal, bestial energy.

I first discovered this album when the 3 PBS FM Breakfast Spread, my constant source of musical inspiration and the constant undoing of my bank balance, played 'I'm Doin' So Well' a few days ago - a track that, for me, is still the best on an album where every track is exceptionally good. It builds and builds its cries and its heartache, unrelenting, unforgiving, uncompromsing. But then listen, too, to songs like 'For the Goodtimes' or '19 Years', and you will see how consistent a talent this is - music that plies you with the very best whisky while it stabs you in the heart, over and over again.

And, for me, it is no small extra bonus that these are love songs sung by a woman about women. Same sex love songs still don't get anywhere near the airspace that they should. We are, after all, about a fifth of the population but our stories certainly don't seem to occupy a fifth of the love music. Yes, we know that Rufus Wainwright and kd laing are mainly singing about their same sex loves, but you know that from their biographies not from their songs. But these songs of Cash Savage are unambiguously, unfetteredly, unpretentiously queer, and this only adds to their strength.

Wolf is an absolute stunner of an album. It won't break your budget if you buy it from the Cash Savage website, but it might break your heart, and maybe even your balls.

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