on 12 April 2001
To me, one of the most exceptional works ever cut. Will Oldham, the singer and foundation of Palace is gaining more popularity, yet he and his music are effectively still an enigma.
This poet has no scruples with words nor apparently with their meanings in many of his songs. Yet there is a depth in his art that is both accessible and unique. Sometimes he touches the sensitivities of what lies in our hearts, even if in those darker moments.
I have developed an addiction for this Appalachian troubadour who changes his name as frequently as his styles. He is an exceptionally clever artist, not only in the way he uses his words but also his instruments. You may have to buy several of the Palace/Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billy CDs to appreciate this. Palace is just the beginning of Will Oldham's inevitable rise to genius. After all, have we not waited long enough now for the return of an early Dylan?
If you buy 'Viva Last Blues' you will be buying one of Will Oldham's essential bests!
This is a very lugubrious type of country blues, as bleak as Lydia Lunch on "Queen of Siam," Michael Gira on "God Damn the Sun" or some American Music Club tracks, e.g. "Firefly." My fave tracks are More Brother Rides, Work Hard/Play Hard, New Partner and Cat's Blues which is a welcome screamer as opposed to the mumbling and half-spoken delivery of most other tracks. It defies classification. Perhaps Sparklehorse was influenced by Palace? Certainly not for the average rock music fan, since it can leave you with a lugubrious, claustrophobic feeling. But then again, it is very beautiful in its morbidity.
on 5 August 2006
Okay, I like Will Oldham as much as anyone. If I met him I'd probably lick his beard in feverish lapdog giddiness and then urinate myself, but lets be realistic here. Only Half the album is worth keeping on your MP3 player. I list them for the ituners out there:
New Partner (5/5) The standout track that you must have.
Brute Choir (3.5/5)
Work hard Play Hard (3.5/5)
Old Jerusalem (3/5)
Cats Blues (3/5)