♫♪  Angela James - “Drink and Try Not to Cry”

Angela James swills her misery like a pro, exposing its various hues, imploring us to join her in its strange, revelling gratification. She reminds us that there is something uniquely (and usually only briefly) satisfying about indulging in a hard bout of melancholy. A schadenfreude of the self, shared for reverberation. Angela James gets drunk to be nobody, anybody, not somebody.

This is a portrait slipping in and out of focus, an intake of breath before the shudder. Its palette is written in steel guitar and sloping vocals, drenched in gratuitous reverb. There’s no real metaphors here, just a disarming sincerity, a capturing of affect so explicit in its mood that at times it feels almost dishonest, like a diary written with the hope of being secretly read.

The collage of heartache is complemented by Jordan Martin’s autumnal textures, layered over sleepy shots of the Californian mountains. James’s deadpan shroud ebbs in and out of place, lending to the air of calculated sorrow: sadness seized and dissected before it can properly take hold.

While many find comfort in such moments at the cemetery of Country cliché, James’s power is to channel the sounds and emotional honesty of such a musical canon in a way that doesn’t feel trite, wandering and wallowing at the same time.

• Angela James: http://www.angelajamesmusic.com
• Whistler Records: http://whistlerchicago.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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