Release Date: Nov 27, 2015
Record label: Editions Mego
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
As far as pedal steel players go, there haven't been many able to simultaneously wrench the violence, sensuality and elegance from their instrument as Heather Leigh Murray can, and her instrumental prowess is matched by an equally powerful voice that can captivate and crush in equal measure. Murray has been releasing music in a variety of combinations since the 1990s, yet her full-length vinyl debut — 2007's Devil if You Can Hear Me — finally cemented the fact that the American ex-pat's singular string/vocal technique is unequalled. The former Charalambides member and Jandek collaborator effectively demolished the grooves of that LP, and has been emitting equally charged work ever since, both solo and alongside the likes of fire music practitioners Thurston Moore, Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty.
When we talk about the long and storied history of songwriters sitting down, singing, and playing the guitar, we’re often talking about people using music as a form of dealing with pain. Of course, there’s a colorful spectrum of artists out there, but the solo guitar is classically viewed as a vehicle for channeling the musician’s sorrow. This can be comforting in its universality, but also challenging to the artist.
http://www.forcedexposure.com/Catalog/leigh-heather-i-abused-animal-lp/SOMA.023LP.html The Upshot: A real shocker and definitely an album you won’t easily forget. BY JONATHAN LEVITT There is something deeply unsettling about Heather Leigh’s latest record. The album is very sparse and offers up a deeply haunting experience if you give the record a chance.
Heather Leigh—I Abused Animal (Ideologic Organ)Expectations can get you, and so can Heather Leigh. It’s easy to start forming ideas about what you’re going to hear when presented with a single female performer seated behind a single instrument and using it to perform songs that articulate a first person singular point of view. The music will be word-first, by turns introspective and relationship-preoccupied and at least quasi-autobiographical.
For an album that is, in essence, very stripped-down and direct (one woman singing and playing the lap steel guitar), I Abused Animal is possibly the most mysterious one I've heard all year. Heather Leigh hails from the coal mining part of West Virginia, but has lived in Scotland for many a year, and has somehow managed to coalesce the most primordial, intangible elements of both locales' musical tradition into a work of art that is wholly unique as to defy such pat words as "folk", "noise" or "drone". I Abused Animal is all of those and none of them and, whilst it draws on the free improvisation tradition she has long been associated with through collaborations with the likes of Peter Brötzmann, Thurston Moore and Chris Corsano, it transcends them entirely in ways that are unexpected and mystifying.