Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Paper plates that sag

MidLo - MidLo
Curly Cassettes #22

MidLo's self-titled opens with "Moonlight," a number consisting of pulsating bass and twinkly piano and the ethereal voice of a woman, and so that's where I thought this cassette was going: dramatic soundscapes that underscore one singer's daring vocal journey.

But I was incorrect—wonderfully incorrect. The rest of MidLo features slices of spirited American folk, tracks such as "Broomjump" and "The Next Grange Hall Dance is Saturday, Oct. 23," their fervor and fiddles so infectious listeners will be coerced into swinging their skirts and kicking up their clogs.

My favorite number is "Love," a ballad that's as spunky as it is syrupy. The piano, banjo, and fiddle all get along so nice, and the singer has this dirtied-up, slightly accented voice. Listening, I began to imagine a summer gathering, like in a backyard closed off with a chicken-wire fence to keep kids and dogs contained, and adults moving in between picnic tables with bits of corn stuck in their bottom teeth and in their hands, paper plates that sag in the middle from the weight of heavy dinners, and sitting in a plastic lawn chair a suitor singing "Love" while the object of their affection stands with their back to the suitor, flipping burgers at the grill, smiling as they contest with grease-fueled flames.

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