Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Sadcore, Post-Punk
There’s plenty to parse through and examine in Thalia Zedek’s musical past alone. Coming up though Boston’s underground music scene in the early ‘80s in the short-lived Uzi provides enough cult fodder. Her later projects Live Skull and Come put her in the same league as fellow rock and roll undergrounders Kim Gordon and Lydia Lunch. But it’s Zedek’s life experience that has really shaped things—both personally and musically.
Singer-songwriter Thalia Zedek has followed up the excellent Liars And Prayers with Via, an album whose songs capture her long-developing sense of perspective in conjunction with her ever-present yearning. Her songs build up with militaristic drum beats, jarring strings, and most importantly, her weary voice. While the tumult surrounding the creation of this album (her longtime drummer left the band and her producer’s studio was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy) might otherwise lead to more immediately dramatic downers, Zedek’s life experiences and, more importantly, sense of hope lends Via an optimistic, triumphant sheen.
Thalia Zedek is one of those long-respected artists, the kind with a loyal base of fans and undying respect from other musicians. She’s been making music since the early ‘80s, in punk bands like Uzi and Live Skull, though she’s best known for her work in the seminal ‘90s band Come. Since the Matador 21 shows in Las Vegas, which included a set from the reunited Come, that “seminal” tag has become more solidified.
Boston songwriter Thalia Zedek's brooding, churning sounds have been in a state of flux for a long, long time. With Via, her first record since 2008's Liars and Prayers, Zedek taps into the burning aggression she knew well fronting late-'80s gutter rock bands like Uzi and Live Skull, but cloaks the anger in the muted blues that have anchored her sounds for the better part of her solo career. Throughout the album's nine songs, there's a nebulous sense of despair, but it's less an anguished confusion and more of the melancholy of acceptance that comes with a life full of heavy changes.
Thalia Zedek’s voice has aged exceptionally well, perhaps in part because it always sounded rather organically aged to begin with. The most immediately striking thing about Via, the latest album from the former Uzi, Live Skull and Come singer/songwriter, is how little her voice has changed over three decades of performance. For evidence, check out clips from Come’s classic 1992 debut album Eleven: Eleven, soon to be reissued by Matador.