Thalia Zedek might be entering the fourth decade of her career as one of the most singular voices in rock, but she shows no signs of creative fatigue. Throughout the 80s she rose to prominence fronting Uzi and Live Skull, before founding Come with Chris Brokaw of Codeine in 1990. Come’s classic first album, Eleven : Eleven is being reissued by Matador in May, it’s 21st anniversary. It will serve to cement Zedek’s position as a bandleader, a songwriter, and as a pioneer who, like Kim Gordon, Kim Deal, Lydia Lunch, and Patti Smith, paved the way for so many others.
After Come called it a day in 2001, Zedek began making music under her own name to high acclaim. Upon the release of her last album, 2008’s Liars and Prayers, Time Out New York proclaimed, “Nothing draws as much blood as the work of this songwriter, one of the most painfully honest and brilliant anywhere.”
On Via, Zedek presents a collection of songs that range from the harrowing to the heartfelt. The opener “Walk Away” is a triumphantly melancholic exploration of living with ghosts, with Zedek’s richly emotive voice augmented by David Michael Curry’s gravelly viola and Mel Lederman’s measured piano. Via also features some of Zedek’s noisiest material in some time. Halfway through “Want You To Know,” Zedek’s guitar erupts into a wash of fuzz, foreshadowing the climax of pounding drums and psychedelic soloing. Via is an album about recovery, loyalty, chance, and gratitude: universal themes that become stirring in Zedek’s hands.
The album was written during two distinct sessions over the course of four years. The first set of songs was written during the period of touring after the release of Liars and Prayers with longtime drummer Daniel Coughlin, who was also in Come. After Coughlin’s departure from the band, Zedek recruited Son Volt drummer Dave Bryson, who’s simple, spacious playing allowed her to stretch and experiment with new sounds and ideas. It was recorded by Andrew Schneider at New Alliance and Translator Audio in June and September of 2012. Via has a gravitational field, a magnetic pull brought on by the weight of the words and the mass of the sounds created. Regardless of her status as a pioneering woman in independent rock, Thalia Zedek’s music stands on its own in its startling honesty.
released March 19, 2013
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