(SMOG)

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

(SMOG)

Supper (Drag City) Maybe it's the weather, the gray mist that turns a cold, rainy street scene into a languid blur. While Bill Callahan's exquisitely detached introspection stands on its own regardless of climate, it resonates to the marrow on indoor days like these. Supper is the 11th full-length from Callahan's (Smog). While the album retains some of the lo-fi insularity of his earlier four-track work, the full band backing makes Supper more of a living-room album than a back bedroom one. The faraway twang of Ken Champion's pedal steel adds a sense of sprawl to Callahan's lyrical desolation. You can also detect faint echoes of the Velvet Underground's third album on tracks like "Butterflies Drowned in Wine," on which Callahan duets with Sarabeth Tucek in a manner recalling the contrast between Lou Reed and Mo Tucker's voices. Tucek also adds gravity to "Truth Serum," a song revealing that our deepest held individual truths could obliterate the ability to connect with others. Closer "A Guiding Light" continues this theme, asking, "Who really wants to see things in blinding white?" In an age that admonishes genteel propriety while celebrating unencumbered honesty as emotional salvation, it's an intriguing idea to ponder over coffee on a dreary Sunday afternoon. Supper may be one of 2003's best albums, but let's wait till July to be sure. (Blender Bar, Saturday, March 15, 12:45am)

****

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bill Callahan, (Smog)

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