Chan Marshall, the creative force behind Cat Power, has long been indie rock’s standard-bearer for melancholy navel gazing. In a career spanning nearly two decades, she’s produced a large catalog of mostly moody confessionals, mixing blues, folk and arty punk with a swoon-inducing, transcendent voice. She could sing random figures from her tax returns and convey more heartache and angst than many other artists could match in their deepest moments.
But on Sun, Marshall’s first full-length collection of new songs in more than six years, the Georgia native has taken a surprising turn from her long-established themes and sound to produce her most joyful, sonically adventurous album to date. Sun, out Sept. 4, is also the best record she’s ever made.
Fans hoping for another rainy-day companion won’t find much comfort on the appropriately titledSun. The delicate guitar and piano lines — and the wispy, introspective poetry of earlier Cat Power recordings — have been obliterated by propulsive synths, drum machines and urgent, densely layered vocals. It’s a bold, sometimes epic and thrilling sound Marshall crafted and produced entirely on her own, playing every instrument and singing every part at her Malibu studio. The songs were later mixed by Philippe Zdar.
Marshall didn’t arrive at this point in her music easily. After releasing her soul-inspired album The Greatest in 2006, the singer was crippled by debt, went bankrupt and was briefly hospitalized for stress. She eventually began writing again, but abandoned everything she’d done after a friend told her the songs were too sad and familiar. So Marshall took time off to reevaluate her approach to music. After an extended hiatus, she returned to the studio with a new game plan that relied heavily on the electronics and driving dance beats heard on Sun. Marshall calls it her “rebirth.”
It can be hard for longtime fans of an artist to embrace changes as dramatic as the ones Marshall makes here. Sun may alienate some listeners who prefer to snuggle under a heavy blanket with Cat Power’s sadder, older sound. But the album is also likely to draw in a new batch of fans struck by its power and triumphant beauty. Either way, it’s one of 2012’s biggest surprises and best records: an irresistible collection from an inspired, fearless and curious artist.
from NPR: http://www.npr.org/2012/08/26/159919016/first-listen-cat-power-sun
Meet Deisha Oliver-Millar, Musician and President of Bang! Arts Management
According to her great aunts (who happen to be nuns), Deisha means “gift from God.” And let’s just say we agree with the nuns’ translation. With her infectious laughter, freakishly adorable smile, her hella sweet backrubs (by request only) and her ability to literally light up the entire city, she really is a heavenly gift. Most Atlantans know her as a veteran of the art and culture scene and/or resident comic reliever around town. She’s all that… a mommy, connector of people and ideas, and of course a bag of chips. Get to know the lovely Deisha and what the bang is all about:
SCOUT: Hello, Ms. Deisha. How might people know you? DEISHA: I have been a cellist with many a band, notably Tiger! Tiger!. These days, I am more for hire now and again. I got to play on the recent Soulphonics single, “Heartlite,” and had a glorious time last year recording with The Selmanaires. The other 80 hours a week, I operate an arts management and promotions company called Bang!(I really, really like exclamation points!)
SCOUT: And we’re a fan of exclaimed sound effects. So, tell me about Bang! Arts and what you guys do: DEISHA: Bang! celebrates artists and arts groups as well as small businesses in the Atlanta area. We consult and implement marketing and branding strategies as well as hosting in-house graphic design, web programming, copy writing, public relations and event planning.
In its collaborative approach to client relations, Bang! Arts hopes to also educate its clients on new marketing and media, so that they can get the good word out on the streets, get people out of their homes and enjoying the rich and diverse landscape that the Atlanta arts and business communities have to offer.
SCOUT: Dang, Bang! Represent! Got some favorite local acts? DEISHA: Favorites? Sh*tballs, that’s hard. As far as music goes, I only work with peeps I like and who seem to think I’m not too much of a jerkface to hang out with. Currently Soulphonics and Ruby Velle, Blair Crimmins and The Hookers, Tiger!Tiger!, Shathouse Rats, Book of Colors, Holly Golightly. I mean there is so much talent here it is pretty fascinating. I want to play cello and squawk with every band.
SCOUT: Local Atlantans that inspire you? DEISHA: Sadie Upchurch (aka Sadie Hawkins) is my performing partner in Flight of Swallows and she is just the bee’s knees. And then there are so many people doing great things to unite the arts scene – MINT (they have an exciting program they are about to announce for emerging artists), PurgeATL, an online source for all things celebratory of Atlanta culture, all the peeps that are making The Goat Farm a vibrant beacon of collaborative art making and performance showing: these things/people/places make me all warm and happy on the inside.
SCOUT: And you definitely contribute to the warm happiness in town. What are you favorite music venues in Atlanta? DEISHA: That is a toss up. It depends on what is playing – sort of like changing the channels on your radio, man – so I can honestly say The Earl, say The Star Bar, 529, say Variety Playhouse…depending on my mood and bat channel will depend on how I spend my monetary love for that evening.
SCOUT: I’ve seen you at (almost) all of those places. Where in Atlanta do you go to let your mind acquire new ideas? DEISHA: If there is a crowd of people (gallery openings, music shows, general out and about-ness) I like to get into random situations and random conversations with people. I make a lot of friends that way.
SCOUT: Where do you go to unwind with a good drink and good company? DEISHA: Twain’s Billiards and Tap. Laid Back, best pour in town, and everyone is pretty darn great there.
SCOUT: Stellar gathering place with excellent brewskies. You’re pretty curious yourself, but what’s you favorite “curious find” in Atlanta? DEISHA: The back patio at MINT is now my new favorite chill spot. It is right on the Beltline. And since it has been gorgeous out there as of late – I have been able to work outside and watch the random people that walk past. It has been quite a hoot.
SCOUT: Man, you are just totally one of the cool kids. Is there something people wouldn’t expect about you DEISHA: Again with the circus stuff, I am taking lyra classes with Sadie Upchurch. It hurts and is the most wonderful kind of hurt outside of childbirth I have experienced in a long, long time. Oh and I really, really love old cars (in particular old Mercedes with the 1960’s body style) and the smell of gasoline.
SCOUT: Mmm… you’re just a foxy little thing. You’ve been around the Atlanta scene through a lot of change—what has improved the most in Atlanta? Where do you see Atlanta going in the future? The Food and the choices for Food. Good god, there is so much good stuff out there my taste buds go into overdrive. I love that there is a push (that is here to stay) for farm-to-table philiosophies; I would like to see that expand further, keeping our economy local, supporting the people that make up all of our diverse communities.
Deisha Oliver does everything. A biochemistry major turned actor turned arts and music promoter and marketing consultant, former restaurant manager, active mom and soon to be bride and new account executive at AM 1690, Oliver is truly a Jack (or maybe Jill) of all trades. And maybe she’s a little bit manic. Coming in at just over five feet tall, Deisha’s pint sized frame exudes all the energy, personality and determination of an entire basketball team.
Deisha is the founder, owner, and operator of Bang! Arts Management and Promotions. She began the business back in February of 2008 as an extension of the music promotion gig she was working at Twain’s Billiards and Tap in Decatur. I asked Deisha if she ran into difficulties trying to start a promotions company in the midst of the great recession. “Oh yes,” she grinned. After lofty dreams of juggling dozens of talented clients and single-handedly uniting Atlanta’s arts communities gave way to a hand full of talented but confused local artists, actors, and musicians. Working only with clients who she is fully invested in and many of whom are friends or acquaintances, Ms. Oliver stressed the importance of loving what you do because, as she explained, it’s the only way to get through the tough times. Deisha considers her role at Bang! that of a teacher; rather than taking compete control of the artist’s name, Deisha encourages clients to be involved in the business side of promotion in a hands-on way. Using Ms. Oliver’s creative energies and community focused approach, Bang! Management and Promotions has become a unique and dynamic force.
And despite Deisha’s multiple full-time jobs, her most important role has always been that of a mother. Her young daughter, Lily Grace, exudes the same energetic self-confidence and sharp intelligence that distinguish Deisha’s personality. Parental pride beams in Deisha’s voice when she talks about Lily’s blossoming creativity; she helps me to continue to see the world as a dynamic and exciting place, Ms. Oliver said.
And even with all of the above on her plate, Deisha Oliver refuses stop. When I met her for coffee on Tuesday afternoon, she was already hard at work helping local musician Blair Crimmins make and distribute flyers for his band’s upcoming show. As Deisha talked about Bang! and I scribbled notes, trying to keep up with the geyser of information, dates, names and future events, she passed out business cards, disassembled a napkin holder to remove an out-of-date events schedule, and waved at familiar passers-by. That’s the exactly the kind of ever-ready energy it takes to motivate a group of (notoriously lazy) creative types, and the type of person that can always exude inexhaustible positive vibes is a rare find, indeed.
Watch out for Deisha and Bang! Promotions. She is currently working on publicizing “The Future of Tomorrow” show by Blast Off Burlesque and the Gather Atlanta event sponsored by Trees Atlanta.
Photo Credit: Jason Travis
Dark, raw, and sinister, Shathouse Rats puts a bluesy spin on dixie-tinged garage rock, laden with psychedelic reverb, a raging organ, and the essence of untamed voodoo rock. Blood on Yer Shoes is a thoroughly uninhibited 6-song experience that comforts the dark corners of your soul, inviting you to dance with your demons without fear of getting “blood on your shoes.”
“Roshambo” explodes as the opening track, like a ferocious climax, with Matt Shat’s unrelenting energy spewing forth through savage vocals, while the keyboard swells and swirls between prominent, deep bass lines and a steadying tambourine.“Die Alone” begins to slow, just enough to maintain a sonic haze, while thunder roars in the background of Shat chanting, “No matter where you go, you’re going to die alone.” The moody and somber, “Stomp Splatter Spew” revels in the shadows of love, lamenting on a black soul and bloody hearts splattering, in the most touching way. The last track, “Two For the Show” closes out the album with the same amplified, psycho energy with which it began and a powerful guitar riff complimented by a ruthless rhythm section.
Shathouse Rats delivers a rawness in their recordings, creating atmosphere, nostalgia, and excitement all at once. I highly recommend giving them a listen. www.shathouserats.com
If you want to advance in your career you’ll need three things: 1) ability to accept criticism and responsibility; 2) ability to give credit when and where it’s due; and 3) ability to see opportunities instead of obstacles.