This is cool. Today, over at The Talkhouse, Dean Wareham, once of Galaxie 500 and now with a mini-LP, Emancipated, reviews the new Mazzy Star album, Seasons Of Your Day.
There are two unmistakeable voices in Mazzy Star. (Well, there is also the restrained drumming of Keith Mitchell, which I have always admired, restraint being an overlooked musical virtue.) One, of course, belongs to Hope Sandoval, a beautiful singing voice that is not all sweetness; sometimes it is cloaked in an intimidating attitude, a kind of quiet sneer. People sometimes assume, when there is a woman fronting a band, that she is just the voice, that someone else is calling all the shots. But during Mazzy Star’s long hiatus she made two strange and mesmerizing albums of her own (as Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions); clearly she knows what she is doing, and the softly meandering “Common Burn,” with its harmonica and glockenspiel, sounds like one of hers.
The other voice is Roback’s guitar, which you recognize from his phrasing and from a few sounds that are his alone. And so at the 15-second point of the first track on the new LP, “In the Kingdom” before a word is uttered, you recognize the band in his inimitable, reverbed slide guitar. Yes, there are a thousand “better” slide players walking around Los Angeles right now but Roback has his own slightly lazy and delicate way; he is a stylist. “I’ve Gotta Stop” delivers the same sensation: an electric guitar phrase pushed through a slight wah, a sound he has been recording for many, many years.
You really want to read the whole thing, not just that excerpt. Head over to The Talkhouse.