Tuesday, July 26

ANTONY, DEVENDRA & JEFF

My brother and I disagree on a number of things. For instance, he likes bad movies, and I like good ones. In matters of love, he prefers one gender; I prefer the other. And when it comes to male singers, he gravitates to the "groaners," while I incline toward the "whiners." So, if one were to stumble blindly into my brother's CD collection, one would promptly find oneself immersed in a swampy mud-puddle of Creed, Nickelback, and... well... Puddle of Mudd. On the other hand, if you had a hankering to take a tour of mine, you would ever-so-presently be skipping your way down a poppy-lined, yellow-brick road of Radiohead, R.E.M., and... well... Elton John, circa Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

But hey: to each his own and to thine own self be true and all that jive.

Seeing as this is my blog, it should come as no surprise that my tastes are going to win out, and that we're going to be listening to some girly men today. Well, not "girly men" so much as "men who sing like girls." You know what I'm talking about. It's the waver. The quaver. The shy little lilt. The full-on falsetto. They may or may not dress like girls. They may or may not like to sleep with girls. But on one thing, there can be no question: they absolutely, positively SING like girls. And that's why some of us love them. And why others - like my brother - simply pound down their Pabsts, get hard-ons for their Hemis, and sink down slothful and hog-like into their manly, manly mudd.

But, now, to the matter at hand... Antony and the Johnsons, Devendra Banhart, and Jeff Hanson all came to my attention at around the same time. All sport their own sound, but each operates within a somewhat similar sphere. And it's their voices, in particular, that set them apart from others while binding them to each other. Granted, Devendra's voice is certainly the least "girly" of the three, but it's still fragile and flitting enough to fit the bill.

And, truth be told, it's my can't-look-at-it/can't-look-away, car-crash reaction to Devendra's "Little Boys" that provided much of the impetus for today's posting. About halfway through, the song shifts significantly when the bassline to Little Peggy March's "I Will Follow Him" kicks in and ol' Devendra starts ranting about all the little boys he wants to marry. What is one to make of this? Is it a sad, desperate effort to be included on the Michael Jackson trial soundtrack? Or perhaps an attempt to pen the perfect theme song for his local NAMBLA chapter? Or is it all just a bit of innocent whimsy? Perhaps only Devendra knows. Perhaps only Devendra should. But give the song a listen; that bassline is positively pedophilia-proof.

[MP3] [left-click] Antony and the Johnsons/"Fistful of Love" [from the LP I Am a Bird Now, 2005]
[MP3] [left-click] Antony and the Johnsons/"Blue Angel" [from their self-titled LP, 2004]

[MP3] [left-click] Devendra Banhart/"Little Boys" [from the LP Cripple Crow, 2005]
[MP3] [left-click] Devendra Banhart/"At the Hop" [from the LP Nino Rojo, 2004]

[MP3] [left-click] Jeff Hanson/"This Time It Will" [from his self-titled LP, 2005]
[MP3] [left-click] Jeff Hanson/"Hiding Behind the Moon" [from the LP Son, 2003]

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