Listening to Come to Me Now
, the latest from Austin’s Puff Puff and the Receivers
(the album was released in '08 but only recently became available in local retail outlets), it’s tough not to hear a sort of biblical litany of lady-rock legacy in your head: Kate Bush
begat Tori Amos
begat Sarah McLachlan
begat Puff Puff
(which is what the band’s lead singer goes by). Upon a second listen, one begins to wonder if the family tree contributing to Puff Puff’s genomes might not contain some secret bastard children: Throwing Muses
might be a first cousin, Björk
a distant baby mama.
Clearly, though, it’s Bush who’s the primogenitor here. It’s not that the vocals run up the same jagged hills as Bush’s do, but there’s definitely an echo of her staggered staccato. Where Bush lists toward the dramatic and strange, though, the Puffsters ease back on the reins a bit, floating on Joshua Stemper
's lilting, arpeggiated guitar and melodies that evoke classic Japanese folk songs
, of all things. It’s subtle: Upon first listen, PP&R appear nothing more than a New Age toss-off – and with occasionally cringe-inducing lyrics like “rest your eyes by the fireside,” sometimes that’s exactly what they are – but subsequent listens reveal intriguing musical twists (particularly in the idiosyncratic beats of weirdo darling and beloved scene fixture Khattie Q
) and dark little underbellies.
Which got me to thinking: Whatever happened to the trauma rock
that women like Amos made their stock in trade? A thread of her influence runs through Puff Puff and the Receivers’ work, especially when Mollie Fischer
’s hypnotic cello gets to sawing away on “No Peace, No War,” but instead of unfurling in a glorious burst of Amos-angst, Puff Puff chooses to hold back. They’re right on the edge, though. Read More | Comment »