Wovenhand and Sixteen Horsepower

Ten Stones, and Live March 2001 (Sounds Familyre)

Phases & Stages


Ten Stones (Sounds Familyre)

Sixteen Horsepower

Live March 2001 (Alternative Tentacles)

David Eugene Edwards delivers two scorching sermons through a pair of San Francisco indies harnessing the Colorado rock prophet's fire and brimstone alt.goth. Ten Stones crowns the grandson of a Nazarene preacher man's half-dozen Wovenhand discs. On par with his 2003 dance production tie-in, Blush (half Ennio Morricone, half 14-minute dirge on Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"), these Stones weigh typically heavy with opener "The Beautiful Axe," a prophecy of the LP to come in the axes of Serena Maneesh's Emil Nikolaisen and Sixteen Horsepower double-bassist Pascal Humbert. "Not One Stone" drops a snakelike electric seizure, Edwards' language, imagery, and gravity courtesy of Deadwood's good book. A couple Stones sink ("Cohawkin Road," "Iron Feather"), but the bigger ones cannonball grand ("White Knuckle Grip"), a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" lending the proceedings a quivering foothold. Double-disc Sixteen Horsepower salvage Live March 2001 shivers open on the sliver drone of Tuvan throat singers preceding Edwards' antique bandoneón, which wheezes worse than Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet ("American Wheeze") and prefaces just as much hurt. Imagine Nick Cave's Bad Seeds outfitted like the Kronos Quartet in the Civil War, and you approach Edwards' former rough riders. Banjo freeze ("Wayfaring Stranger"), punishing dead ends ("Cinder Alley"), and heavy retribution ("Clogger") match the musical workings of a cathedral bell tower or organ hall. Encores find a locust-stripping "24 Hours" prior to the closing gallop of "Coal Black Horses" and apocalyptic "Dead Run." David Eugene Edwards, god.

Phases & Stages

(Wovenhand) ***

(Sixteen Horsepower) ***.5

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