The Cave Singers

The Cave Singers

The Cave Singers spend a good deal of time beyond the darkened edges of Seattle, in the mist and mystic, among the wolves and redwoods. And their songs, at least on record, have always been like beautiful, faded grayscale photos of this hinterland. Now, these photos are injected with hot blood and technicolor, a ferocity and bite we've yet to see from the band.

By all accounts, No Witch is The Cave Singers' rock record. Laid to tape with dark wizard producer Randall Dunn (Black Mountain, Sunn O))), Boris), No Witch is grander and more lush than The Cave Singers' previous efforts. It's also a nervier, scrappier affair: greasy guitars buck and rear up; Eastern-influenced blues snake through songs; gospel choirs rise up like tidal waves. There are big, grinning nods to Beggars Banquet-era Stones, the best of Mellencamp ("Clever Creatures") and the juke joint legends of Mississippi like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside ("Black Leaf" and "No Prosecution If We Bail"). Of course, it's all filtered through that particular, magical Cave Singers formula: Pete Quirk's reedy, behind-the-beat delivery and existential wordplay, Derek Fudesco's lyrical guitar runs and drummer Marty Lund's no nonsense rhythms.

No Witch is a newfound sheen to the aura that made The Cave Singers' music so special to begin with. All told, there's treasure to be found here for the biker gang weekender, the double rainbow chaser and all that falls in the valley between them.

True to the ever-present dichotomies that serve as a source of inspiration for her, Lia Ices' emotionally driven and experimental pop music is both avant-garde and timeless. A natural yet refined grace permeates her work: she is a piano herself. Dancing on a finely crafted line between the percussive qualities of her instrument, and the melodic elements within the rhythm of her voice, Ices' music reveals itself as epiphany. With such overt elegance as if from a bygone era, listening to her songs inspires a psychic time slip, and its hard to know if you're wading in the warmest of memories or awed by the invention and glow of new surroundings.

The album starts with an inviting whisper on stand-out track "Love is Won", as Ices' vocals "O you know I need yer mystic mind" are accompanied by solo piano. Less than a minute in, we start to catch a glimpse at the depths of the record as we find ourselves, all of a sudden, in the midst of a swaying, swaggering down tempo soul, punctuated by bass and drum interplay.

The quiet moments are very quiet, and the space within them is palpable. On "Lilac," a single voice occupies the intimate yet expansive space generated by sparse acoustic guitar and bass. Such a delicate balance is struck that when slight brushwork enters, its impact is surprisingly startling. The warm directness is perhaps best exemplified in a moment of stand out vocals as Ices sings beseechingly, "For only you, I sing for only you, I sing." Ices' voice floats and flutters around you, like the leaves from trees on a fleeting fall day, and the instrumentation matches that subtle dynamism. Grown Unknown is a walk in the park on a day of carnival, the most beautiful day so far this year.

Appearing as a guest vocalist for "Daphne," the only duet on the album, is Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. The magic generated by Ices' and Vernon's voices together is quite simply a powerful thing. Enjoy.

Grown Unknown was recorded at The Clubhouse, Rhinebeck, NY, and mixed at Rare Book Room, NY, NY.

$10.00

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The Cave Singers with Lia Ices

Saturday, April 9 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Zanzabar

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