Monday, January 30, 2006

Dirty Three

I'm not sure how this one missed my best-of year-end list, but it did, and I'm sorry.

The Dirty Three are a trio from Australia that make hauntingly beautiful instrumental music based around drums, violin, and guitars. They first entered my world as the band behind Chan Marshall's voice and songs on Moon Pix, far and away my favorite Cat Power record. Dirty Three were no small part of that record's beauty, playing perfectly off Marshall's ethereal, breathy, captivating vocals, conjuring worlds for her to sing within.

They brought out a new record last year called Cinder, and it's a thing your ears will not be able to get enough of. At times dark and moody, at others buoyant and celebratory, at all times this record embodies musicians at the heights of their powers, working with material that offers them space to do their thing with no intrusions or interruptions. You just wish you could be in the room when they get together to practice.

As a bonus, Ms. Marshall appears for vocal duties on one song, called Great Waves, that is one of my favorite tracks of all last year. I dare say it could stand up to anything on Moon Pix, and wouldn't be at all out of place on that record.

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