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Wednesday: [weds] It's Not Quite Gossamer Commons, But...

Bill Mallonee's Lupin/Jigen impression -- by Magnus Aronson, Sweden -- which appears in the booklet for Dear LifeI couldn't resist not exploding over this one. Also, reading documentation is annoying. And I've been waiting for months to tell someone without swearing them to absolute and utter secrecy.

I found out last night that copies of Friendly Fire, the new album by former Vigilantes of Love frontman Bill Mallonee, have entered the wild via his shows in Kentucky. This is big enough news on its own for a fan (and I have been a fan since sometime in 1995, circa Blister Soul; Mallonee's quite solidly my favourite musician ever). Friendly Fire was originally slated for a Christmas 2004 release, but slipped, as such things are wont to do.

Bill's working methods these days make me wonder why webcomics hasn't seemed to notice him; if he drew instead of performing, he really could just slot right into this community and thrive. FF and his previous album, Dear Life, were funded through online preorders. A chunk of his core fanbase belongs to a subscription-based site consisting mostly of harder-to-source tracks and live performances. (Yes, I'm among them.) The industry, in its myriad forms, just kept sucking for him, and sucking hard -- Summershine, Perfumed Letter, Locket Full of Moonlight, and the delectable albatross of Audible Sigh should have broken, and broken hard -- so he just kept moving.

And here he is.

(Oh: no one ever knows what the hell genre labels to apply, but -- and I'll have to take folks' word for it, 'cause I have yet to break down -- Wilco keeps getting brought up as a comparison point these days. "Americana" and "alt.country" seem to come up as descriptors a bunch of late, and there's heavy, fuzzy britpop influence on the solo work prior to Dear Life. But those labels so totally suck. I liked the "bridge between folk and pop" thing I saw in a review recently, if that helps. If you were listening to the college bands coming out of Athens in the nineties, you might have an idea of what some incarnations of VoL were capable of. Mallonee's worked with Buddy and Julie Miller, toured with Dolly Varden... there are guitars. Don't ask me; I end up describing most of the albums in terms of what colour I see when I play them. Anyhow, I've probably answered my own question and made myself seem terribly old; I'm so not indie. Then again, I also think the man is a closet goth -- a proper British goth, from back when that was sorta tasteful, stuck in Georgia clothing.)


A detail of Mandy Parker-Fujimoto as she appears on the tray card for Bill Mallonee's new album, Friendly Fire. For me, though, this is a big old bit of personal good news, too, because Friendly Fire contains my first piece of published visual art since the mid-nineties. (Stage fright? You better believe I have it.) The girl you see here is Mandy Parker-Fujimoto, a character from my own Seekrit Project webcomic-in-development (distinct from Takeover and semidistinct from project Wu). You'll find her on the inner traycard, when you take the CD out. And, if you can spot the visual homages to Leiji Matsumoto, Sakura Taisen, and Preacher, you will rock.

It's not time yet for me to talk a lot about Mandy. I'll tell you that she was born quite some time ago, and she was born because of some songs that Bill Mallonee had written. Since I wasn't about to start work on a project that referenced his work without checking to see if it was OK, I bounced him a note to ask about it. I didn't know at the time that he might think she was nifty, and it's staggering to me that he liked her enough to want her close by.

I know that some of the people who read this know exactly how this sort of thing feels. This is, for lack of a better reference point, my In Nomine supplement. So you'll understand when I say that, tonight, I am a little dizzy, and a little flushed, and I haven't even started drinking yet.

And I now no longer have any excuse to keep Mandy under a bushel.

Thanks, Bill.

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at March 17, 2005 6:27 PM

Comments

Comment from: mckenzee posted at March 17, 2005 7:41 PM

Huge congrats, my dear!

I'd been wondering where that icon came from.

Comment from: djcoffman posted at March 17, 2005 8:13 PM

Never heard of these folks before, but I sure do like what I heard on his website! I'm going to seek out that CD now too...

Comment from: Prodigal posted at March 18, 2005 12:27 AM

That is massively nifty, Weds! Congratulations!

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