Net Nuggets 5: Entrance

Entrance: «In This Land» (a.k.a. «Lord Help the Poor and Needy») [mp3]
His face is like a big black cloud
And his voice is like a thunderstorm
I would follow him anywhere he wants me to
And I would sing for him in a crowd of New York hipsters
Because I think he's a good one
He's got to be a good one

His legs are like climbing vines
And his arms are like a tree
His fingers willingly entwine
With music made of leaves
I think he's a good one good one good one
He's got to be a good one
So sings Larkin Grimm—herself an awe-inspiring demonic angel—during her song «Entrance», which surely cannot be anything but a genuflecting submission of annihilating love before the transcendental troubadour that is Guy Blakeslee, the most underappreciated contemporary singer-songwriter this blogger can think of.

When Entrance first blew me away a few years back, opening for Devendra Banhart at the ICA in London, it was only him—Blakeslee—his desperately wailing falsetto, his extremely loud guitar, and something like a cymbal attached to his furiously, decisively stomping boot. It was all whirlwind, heat & flash, and when later I tracked down one of his CDs and could actually make out the words, there was no turning back. A modern popular music obsession (and perhaps even the seed of an (albeit infecund) homoerotic crush) was sown… No other artist quite manages the feat of displaying such love and disdain, all at the same time (except, of course, for the aforementioned Ms. Grimm).

Yet again I digress; a few years before Blakeslee's one-time duet partner Cat Power got into legal trouble with the copyright bureaucrats over her dreamy covers album Jukebox—the liner notes credited the song «Lord, Help the Poor & Needy» as «Traditional, by Jessie Mae Hemphill, arranged by Chan Marshall, Public Domain,» when, in fact, the song is not a traditional, but was written by the late Hemphill—Entrance recorded his own idiosyncratic take on this song, giving it the title «In This Land» and uploading it onto his MySpace page for all to download (back when MySpace wasn't just for streaming).

It sounds like an outtake from Entrance's heavy 2005 record Prayer of Death, and why it was never released I'll never understand, as it would've been a stand-out track on that album, as Entrance shapeshifts the blues into a ceremonial incantation and prayer to end the Total War, the drone and jingle-jangle percussion casting a curse on all those who cause a prayer to be necessary in the first place.

Please feel free to click your way to purchasing Entrance's album-long meditation on the big sleep here.

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