Drinking from Puddles
Tara Jane O'Neil performs on Drinking From Puddles !!
"TARA JANE O'NEIL : A WAYS AWAY (klp207) may 5 2009
The work of TJO has always innately crossed genres and boundaries- like several genies emerging from a single lamp. Every singer wants to be a painter, every guitarist a singer, every songwriter a poet and every producer an alchemist or at least an author.
Tjo is skilled at all these things, and for her 5th album she has wielded all of her powers. She has made a song cycle, generous and concise, direct and uncompromised.
TJO’s new LP is primarily the offering of a singer-songwriter, but there is an elegant attention to detail in the mix that will please all those in need of the great headphone jams, and there is plenty of electronic minimalist drone magic, and heroic adventure too. But A WAYS AWAY is driven by the singer and the songs. On this record, she has put her voice out front, and as in the past, the vocals are perversely and meticulously arranged and gorgeously sung. There’s compassion and concern, wisdom and heartbreak, moving on and waking up in these songs. The elements of her live show and her studio craft meet here. There’s some sorcery and exorcism, and there are questions that stand on their own.
As a dream is surprising and mysterious, so can be her live shows, haunting, masterful, arresting. Her ability to divine the finest players in any town to create shifting and often spontaneous bands makes each show unique, a thing of legend. TJO conjures up all of your favorite singer-songwriters, painters and poets as if they are all there in her songs, a dialogic meeting in the air. It is an expansive and dynamic mystery sound. There is space in it, there is volume and electricity in it, and there is no fear. ONeil coaxes gamelan sonorities or tiny gongs out of her guitar, thick dissonant tone clusters or rapid fingerpicking to support her mellifluous call. At some point Tara tosses shakers, bells, and tambourines at the crowd and before they know it the audience members have become The Ecstatic Tambourine Orchestra. No longer are they just watching the band—the room and everyone in it are the band. It’s complicated, but also profoundly simple. Through layered veils of guitar and the constant companions of distant tambourines, she gently draws out the creatures of all of our inner worlds.
While writing her own music, Tara Jane ONeil has also collaborated with Papa M, Ida, Mirah, Michael Hurley, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and the King Cobra, among others; has scored soundtracks for film and theater; and records instrumental music under the moniker Strange Clouds. She was a founding member of some influential and prescient bands back in the day, like Rodan, Retsin, and the Sonora Pine. ONeil is also an accomplished visual artist whose paintings and drawings have exhibited worldwide; Wings. Strings. Meridians. A Blighted Bestiary, her second book of paintings to appear in the last decade, was published by Yeti last year. TJO has been celebrated for her visionary art and music by folks from The Wire and Pitchfork and the New York Times to curators of multidisciplinary art events and music festivals.
TJO will be practicing her meticulous extrapolation, her ecstatic melody, her sorcery, in locations all over the globe in 2009. In May she starts in Europe and moves slowly westward."--Music Remedy