Jewlia Eisenberg — Trilectic
(Tzadik TZ 7155, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-09-01
It’s probably stating the obvious to say that fans of Charming Hostess and (to some degree) Sleepytime Gorilla Museum are likely to enjoy this release as well. Eisenberg is one of the vocalists from Hostess, and all the current members of SGM appear here. The music has none of the heavy tendencies of SGM, however, and is nearly all unaccompanied voices. Eisenberg uses quite a variety of vocal styles, including tight Eastern European harmonies, bluesy melodies, and vocal percussive noises, so comparisons could be made to Les Voix Bulgares, Zap Mama, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and maybe even Ani DiFranco. Most of the songs follow the lives of Asja Lacis and Walter Benjamin, two radical Jews who lived in Moscow and other European cites back in the 1920s, when many intellectuals saw the new Soviet Union as an expression of philosophical ideals. Eisenberg has highlighted some of their more personal moments in addition to the political ones; one of my favorite tracks is “Eskimo Suit,” in which Asja wants an expensive fur suit, but Walter can’t afford it. The sometimes serious subject matter is treated with a light touch, never becoming overly sad or dramatic – after all, it’s hard not to smile when singers are reproducing rhythm parts. Some of the lyrics in English, many are not. After many listens, I’ve yet to hear a single false note, and I discover new details all the time (and that’s always a good sign).
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more