So, like every indie music fan, I heard about Bat for Lashes sometime in 2006 when Ms. Khan released “Fur and Gold”. The critical response was embarrassingly rapturous and deafening. I gave it a few reluctant listens and, with the exception of the two singles, “What’s a Girl to Do?” and “Prescilla”, just didn’t get it. At all. I felt it reeked of self-conscious trendy, boho hipster flavor of the month.
The Donnie Darko-inspired video for “What’s a Girl to Do?”, while clever and tempting due to the brilliant, slick art direction, only angered me more. I should mention that I was employed by Urban Outfitters at the time. I know, how utterly typical…The company released their annual look book and referenced Natasha Khan as their primary new muse. Next thing I knew, I was unpacking stinky crates of peacock feather earrings from India, gem stone necklaces (I think we sold 2..optimistically), mood rings, absurd sequin headbands (stupidest hipster trend of all time) and diaphanous hippy frocks that, while blindingly romantic and dreamy, proved to be an utter disaster in the financial sense. Shocker. Clearly, these people were too young to remember Stevie Nicks (who I’ve adored from a very early age thanks to my dad’s slightly embarrassing, effeminate love of Fleetwood Mac…but that’s another blog post) And my disdain only built. I lumped her into my building hatred for soulless, blogosphere schlock. By this pic, who wouldn’t??! I don’t know about you, but if you’ve been to any indie dance party within the last 4 years, you’ve seen this chick. Now you know, Natasha Khan is origin of that girl. You’ve all seen her. A lot.
So, when I heard about the Bat for Lashes new release, “Two Suns”, I smirked and, for reasons unbeknownst to me, downloaded it for my trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans last weekend. Along with a slew of other new albums. M. Ward, Franz Ferdinand, Andrew Bird, and some others. I’m not crazy about any of them, but I have a neurotic need to at least have a fair basis for disliking artists. Whatever. Cutting to the chase, I absolutely love “Two Suns”. It’s one of those albums that really gets under your skin and makes you want to listen to it on repeat. All the time. Every day.
Yes, the new album is darkly haunting, beautifully melds huge booming primitive drums with sleek electronic beats and melancholy piano keys. Oh, and it’s heavily evocative of Stevie Nicks. And Kate Bush, Bjork, etc…I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t already been said. It’s pretty fucking great. Without a doubt my favorite album of the year so far. Since the new music video “Daniel” it’s out yet (but I’m really excited, because it was filmed in Brazil and what better locale for Khan’s blend of baroque gypsy mysticism…) So, only thing to offer is “Moon and Moon” on BBC’s “The Culture Show”. Not my fav song on the album, but very pretty.
I like this better. Even though it’s pretty poor quality and shoddily filmed from them opening for Radiohead. “Glass” is an amazing song, tho: