Review: Damned Devotion by Joan as Police Woman

Damned Devotion by Joan as Police WomanFor her sixth solo record, Joan As Police Woman strips down, somewhat. The Classic saw her make a trip to soul town, and in Damned Devotion she replaces that with a slightly more intense, if not visceral, sound that relies on the percussion – not its loudness, but its ability to dictate the tempo. That provides a good counterbalance to Joan Wasser’s slinky vocal: smooth and husky enough to sound just AOR enough, but possessing a bite that, alongside her lyrics, portray strength and a little bit of zing. Damned Devotion satisfies: it’s not really the boring record it initially felt like, at least not after its predecessor’s up and up feel. Here, she embraces the duality of her music (again, arguably). It’s that conflict between sounds that take center stage, and you don’t quite know where she’ll go with it – but you’re along for the ride anyway. [NB]4/5


earthings! 2014: My ten favorites of the year

earthings! 2014

Yep, another list of my ten favorite songs of the year. And it’s just that: my ten favorites of the year. While there is an attempt to weave what is clearly a very personal list into some narrative defining the past year, it will most likely not work as much as it should. That said, there were a lot of interesting songs in the past twelve months, and some of my favorite acts went back with some new bits, too. People went quiet; people went retro; people went organic. So there’s that. I don’t know about you, but this is my year in music, sorted in alphabetical order, although you’re likely to guess what I’m biased towards… that’s just the whole nature of it, yes? We’ll be on a two-week holiday break, and we’ll be back with new entries on 5 January. Hopefully. And now, the list. [NB]

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“I need to see you again, and then I’ll show you what you do to me.”

“Holy City” by Joan As Police Woman | I didn’t expect Joan As Police Woman to swing this hard. “Holy City” is the first song off her latest album The Classic, which drops today, and… yeah, she has me at that soul sound and all those horns. And maybe that girl playing violin in the country hour segment on the music video. I swear she looks familiar. (Likely a member of her band, since she’s also in the video for the title track, like the rest of the country hour gang. I am fumbling this.) I guess, if we’re talking about this year, this is one of those songs I cannot imagine myself getting tired of. To the point that it took me weeks to write about it, yes. [NB]