Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

This "disc" is not only stupendous, often jaw-droppingly gorgeous moderne folk music, it marks the first time I've actually bought a record in non-tangible form. Rather than hoof out the door and get the physical CD, I downloaded the thing via iTunes and paid real cash money to deliver it to my PC and therefore my, ahem, "iPod" (what a dork!). I figured I'd support the locals and all, given that VETIVER are/is a San Francisco band/dude named Andy Cabic. I just hope the titans of industry over at Apple cut him his check, pronto. So now I've got the man's creations constantly buzzing through my headphones, and I have to say I'm really, really impressed. His debut offering arrives fully formed and supremely confident, like he'd been writing sad, lyrical near-masterpieces for decades. Awash in cello and gently-plucked guitar, Vetiver's debut sounds like something TOWNES VAN ZANDT might've come up with in his darkest hours, minus any nods toward "country" at all. Cabic not only has a terrific set of pipes, he's able to arrange songs like "Oh Papa", "Luna Sea" and "Without a Song" to extract the maximum amount of sorrow and loss from every chord. I suppose it's not fair to peg the CD as a total downer, because it isn't -- there are a few moderate uppers, too, one sung in Spanish. The sound is very majestic and large, too, given that so much of it is underwritten by this knockout cellist who hovers like a phantom and squeaks softly through Cabic's words. If this hasn't been knocking them dead over on college radio then I'm a-gonna have to rassle me a college kid. Fantastic disc, or shall I say, a terrific collection of zeros and ones that's well worth your attention.