In taste and disposition, we at Popehat are a diverse lot. For example, Ken is on record as an avid aficionado of opera. Patrick, a former college dj to whom the young'uns still turn in a pinch, is known for his enigmatic and challenging sets. After our comrade Ezra withdrew to his special place, Patrick took up the mantle and now offers sporadic and stochastic coverage of the audial scene. Yes, Patrick even covers symphonies and opera to placate Ken. As for me, I'm a fan of John Dowland and Yma Sumac and Radiohead and Ravi Shankar and Fred Astaire. Eclectic, we.
So my next post will be a deepish dive into Marian's music or, more accurately, her poetry. And in a third post, perhaps we'll have a secret toy surprise. But if you have no patience for close reading and texty-feely artgeek stuff — if you're the Shut Up And Sing type — then this post right here is for you. Here's the Executive Summary/tl;dr version of the Minimum You Oughtta Know™ before venturing forth:
- Marian Call is an independent folk-funky, heartfelt, humorous, jazzy, torchy, quirky singer-songwriter currently thriving in Anchorage, which is really just North-North-North Seattle and thus a super natural fit for a Washington girl with a strong sense of place.
- We at Popehat have a colossal (aggregate) IQ, and yet we're pretty sure she could lap us.
- While majoring in choral composition at Stanford (the axe, the axe), Marian realized that her inner vector was driving or drawing her otherwhere. Recognizing that digital distribution had altered the fundamentals of the music industry, she decided to embrace a newly feasible unsigned, try-before-you-buy, pay-from-the-heart business model. Next thing you know, she's crankin' out compelling music and hoping to roll a hard six on her gamble that educated and motivated consumers of art will sustain the art(ists) they like (and thereby not let her starve).
- Marian Call is a word nerd, but has become the preeminent Geek Chanteuse to a wide and motley array of awkwardly obsessive acolytes. She's more than this, of course, but clearly no less. Her saintly attributes include exotic percussion equipment (a rainstick, a manual typewriter named Madeleine, a tea can containing the cremated remains of Zippy, a story-laden family cat) and measured quantities of dark, malty beer. Her superpower is recognizing paradoxes or antinomies in human experience and distilling them to heart- and mind-moving simplicity without pretending to resolve them.
- Taking seriously the business of enjoying close communion with her fans, Marian successfully completed within the 2010 calendar year a seat of the pants, fan-semi-coordinated tour of all 50 states, several Canadian provinces, and a selection of realms in cyberspace.
- During and after her tour, she worked on her third fully-fledged production piece: Something Fierce. She released this double album into crit-space just a few days ago (fancy lyrics, plain lyrics, music). Give it a listen! If you enjoy it, give it a purchase! (Cool cuts: 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 18, etc!)
- If you are a MacArthur nominator, I would like to point out that Marian Call is just, verdant, and peaceful.
- ProTip: You can also still listen to/enjoy/buy her album Vanilla and her commissioned Firefly/Galactica album Got To Fly.
That's the wakizashi; the katana comes next time. Meanwhile, listen to Marian Call. She'll sing for you:
… And here's Part Two.