Saturday, December 12, 2009

As David Bazan Curses. . .

There is always something profound to be heard in the songs of David Bazan. The breathy drawl of his voice proclaiming that, "It's hard to be . . . a decent human being," with lyrical poignancy on the first track of his latest album, CURSE YOUR BRANCHES, is just one example. Bazan has always had a way with words, emotionally affecting with his openness and a knack for crafting introspective tales that read like stream of consciousness, condensed beautifully in roughly 3 and 1/2 minutes.

Those familiar with his earlier work as Pedro the Lion can attest to that. A personal favorite, "Priest and Paramedics," from the album, CONTROL, ends with Bazan despondently singing, "You're gonna die, we're all gonna die, could be twenty years, could be tonight, and lately I have been wondering why we go through so much trouble to postpone the unavoidable and prolong the pain of being alive."

Although Bazan has chosen to perform and record as a solo effort, the music has seeming (and paradoxically) become more complex then in his band days, under the Pedro the Lion moniker. Contibuting to CURSE YOUR BRANCHES are Seattle music stalwarts, Casey Foubert, Josh Ottum, and T.W. Walsh; just to name a few.

As a talent of his caliber is to be seen as well as heard, 2008 saw the release of BAZAN: ALONE AT THE MICROPHONE, a short film by Bob Andrews and David Bazan, which includes live performances and interviews, in which David speaks candidly about his music, his family, his faith, and his experiences in Pedro the Lion. Included, is an amazing performance of "Slow And Steady Wins The Race," recorded in his truck while waiting at what seems to be the longest traffic light ever, then finished while parked outside of his home. The film includes songs spanning his whole career, including "Priest and Paramedics," and ending with an acoustic version of CURSE YOUR BRANCHES' "Please, Baby, Please."

Both releases, along with the AMERICAN FLAGS 7"(released on Inauguration Day), can be found via barsuk records. The back catalog of Pedro the Lion releases are still available through Jade Tree or from David's own website. Three of the songs from CURSE YOUR BRACHES were recently recorded at Daytrotter, and can be found as free downloads here.

David Bazan delivers the same emotional impact, even when performing other people's songs, as witnessed in his renditions of Radiohead's "Let Down," and Cat Power's "Metal Heart," on Pedro the Lion's TOUR EP '04. A different recording of "Let Down" can be found on Stereogum's OKX: A TRIBUTE TO OK COMPUTER, a free tribute album in celebration of the album's 10th year, available here.

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