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Liz Janes & Create(!), Half-Handed Cloud Preview

| March 29, 2006 | 0 Comments

Liz Janes & Create(!), Half-Handed Cloud
Empty Bottle, Chicago
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Asthmatic Kitty labelmates (home to Sufjan Stevens) rep the label on a Midwest jaunt, pulling on separate ends of Stevens’ nostalgic Americana.


Liz Janes, who has worked with Stevens and Black Heart Procession, goes straight to the source via interpretations of folk songs so old they’re considered Public Domain. Instead of faithfully receating old-timey hobo anthems and neglecting to wipe off the dust on a self-titled EP, she and Create(!) test the songs’ mettle with new millennium retrovision. They ambitiously turn “Lonesome Valley” into a candidate for Britain’s late “new acoustic” movement, and Nina Simone’s “Be My Husband” into a lurking, avant menace. Perhaps best proving we’re all connected, Janes even uncovers some proggy cock rock, when her “Run Old Jeremiah/Keep Your Hand On The Plow” dashes alongside Led Zeppelin’s stomping “Friends.”

Half-Handed Cloud, another name for John Ringhofer and his cohorts, take a left-field approach to melody and arrangements, embedding Halos & Lassos with grade school surrealism and DIY instrumentation — not unlike playing a sped-up, a cappella Elliott Smith track over some deconstructed Rodgers And Hammerstein indie orchestra, or, roughly, an Elephant 6 band. Whereas Janes invites you to come in and peek, HHC beg to be artificially misjudged, until they unwrap the Bible with parts tenderness and irreverance, positing a new direction for religirock apart from one-line thumping and the torn instrospection of Pedro The Lion and, you guessed it, Sufjan Stevens.

Singleman Affair headline.

— Steve Forstneger

Click here to download Liz Janes & Create(!)’s “Lonesome Valley.”

Click here to download Half-Handed Cloud’s “Feed Your Sheep A Burning Lamp.”

Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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