Mp3 Killed the Vinyl DJ 2: Entrance

Entrance: «See for Yourself» [mp3]

The one-man band is a much-maligned artist, dismissed as a novelty busker clown outfitted in a particularly laborious and obnoxious percussive apparatus. But when Entrance a.k.a. Guy Blakeslee strapped bells to his boot and plugged in his back-feeding guitar, saying, «I know it's loud, but that's just the way it's going to be,» I was almost sold. And one long and loud, haunted, high-pitched blues cover to blow your mind (and blow dry your hair) later, I was his bitch forever. Shudder to think what it would've been like if he were backed by a full band…

That was at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, opening for Devendra Banhart. Poor Devendra. As if suffering from some sort of funky food poisoning on a foreign continent on your birthday wasn't bad enough, he had to go on after a desperately wailing Entrance had ripped our ears and minds apart with his assault on electricity.

That was in May 2004, and I thought we'd see plenty more of this kid. Alas, Blakeslee continues to be one of the most underappreciated singer-songwriters to appear in the '00s. His last album was self-released, and until very recently he was selling bootlegs of his own stuff(!) on MySpace.

Long before that, in 2002, Tiger Style Records came out with an Entrance/Papa M split 7". Entrance's side, «See for Yourself», sounds like an outtake from debut album The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken by Storm, complete with what was then Blakeslee's signature raga flamenco blues stylings. Typically, Blakeslee's lyrics come from an empathic urge to say what people don't want as much as need to hear, his brand of brutal honesty devoid of the vitriol that so often betrays a songwriter's true, underlying bitterness. With «See for Yourself» Blakeslee doesn't mince words, opting instead to show some tough love:

Destined to find only disconnection
Constantly caught at an intersection
See for yourself past your own reflection
And if you're so wise, see a new direction

One hundred times a day you try
To slow down time as it passes by
And though you fail and wonder why
There's nothing you can do but close your eyes
Go back to your dreams for now
Go back to your dreams for now

This vinyl-only single has since gone out of print, but not to worry: Too good to rot on the rubbish heap of popular music history, here's an mp3 of it. Enjoy!

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