Adia Victoria has a rough, raw voice that goes well with her simple, exposed guitar sound. The blurb says her music “carries the singular perspective of a Southern black woman with a Seventh Day Adventist upbringing, who never felt like she’d fit in.”
She sings three song, mostly in a great, raspy voice. For “Stuck in the South” she actually seems to be gritting her teeth as she sings: “I don’t know nothing ’bout Southern belles / but I can tell you something ’bout Southern hell.” When the first verse ends, and her band kicks in, it adds such interesting textures. a distorted bass and a lead guitar playing quietly distorted sounds. This song is really captivating.
“And Then You Die” with its swirling sounds and keyboards has a very distinctly Nick Cave feel–gothic in the Southern sense of the word. Indeed, the first verse is spoken in a delivery that would make Nick proud. This is no to say she cribbed from Cave but it would work very well as a companion song I really like the way it builds, but the ending is so abrupt–I could have used some more verses.
After the second song the band heads away and Bob says “They’re all leaving you.” She looks at them and growls, “Get off the stage!” to much laughter.
She sings the final song “Heathen” with just her on acoustic guitar. It is a simple two chord song. It’s less interesting than the others, but again, it’s the lyrics that stand out: “I guess that makes me a heathen, something lower than dirt / I hear them calling me heathen, ooh like they think it hurts.”
I’m curious to hear just what Adia would do with these songs when she’s not in this Tiny format. I imagine she can be really powerful.
[READ: November 23, 2016] McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales
For some reason or another I have put off reading this McSweeney’s volume for many years. This is technically McSweeney’s #10, although it was also released in this printing from a major publisher. Sadly for me, my McSweeney’s subscription had expired sometime around here so I’ve never actually seen the “official” Volume 10 which I understand has the exact same content but a slightly different cover.
One of the reasons I’ve put off reading this was the small print and pulpy paper–I don’t like pulpy paper. And it was pretty long, too.
But I think the big reason is that I don’t really like genre fiction. But I think that’s the point of this issue. To give people who read non-genre fiction some exposure to genre stuff.
Interestingly I think I’ve learned that I do enjoy some genre fiction after all. And yet, a lot of the stories here really weren’t very genre-y. Or very thrilling. They seemed to have trappings of genre ideas–mystery, horror–but all the while remaining internal stories rather than action-packed.
Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy anything here. I enjoyed a bunch of the stories quite a bit, especially if I didn’t think of them as genre stories. Although there were a couple of less than exiting stories here, too. (more…)