In Moscow and Lisbon and Paris and Rome, Shivaree raised a genuine racket with their 1999 debut, I Oughtta Give You A Shot In The Head For Making Me Live In This Dump (Capitol). Even registered a bit of a tremor in the U.S. and Britain, thanks to a watchful press and a few dozen radio rogues. Mission accomplished, right? Romantic musical anarchists prevail against all odds: a waltz or three here, a black mambo there, and 19 months of second class travel to a cabaret near you secure a cult beachhead for our misfit crew. Soon, there'll be waltz enough for allÃ¢Â€Â¦
Rough Dreams, the band's '02 encore, may have been named for Otis Redding, but it played out more like prophecy than homage. Unremarkable but unremitting label squabbles devolved into a long playing nightmare that ended in wreckage. The album never saw a U.S. release, the band ceased touring, and if not for an odd weekly radio spot and the timely patronage of Quentin Tarantino and Hal Willner, Ambrosia Parsley and her band might have driven all the way off the map.
Ambrosia Sings the News debuted on Air America Radio the first Friday of April '04 and quickly became one of the young network's most popular segments, an ideal vehicle for Parsley's devilish wit and indelible voice. Summer saw her accompany Uma Thurman's victory lap at the close of Kill Bill 2, and deliver, with Cat Power and Blood Ulmer, one of the real spellbinders at Willner's "Neil Young Project" in Brooklyn.
Now, five years and over half a million album sales after the I Oughtta release, Parsley and Shivaree return with a question first sung in a fantasy nightclub, circa 1942: Who's Got Trouble? (Zoe). Michael Curtiz's timeless Casablanca is the inspiration for the album's title and lead track, and the answer, sadly, is all too familiar. (Studies show that while it may accurately describe their politics, registered Republicans typically shun movies in black & white.) The track's evil siren has an appetite for lust and a lust for world destruction; recognizing a willing patsy on Pennsylvania Avenue, she preys. Little surprise then, that the next 40 minutes are raked by excess, deceit, escape and wrenching loss.
Strange, sultry, darkly comic and constantly changing--we welcome you back to the remarkable world of Shivaree. Clearly, we've got trouble.
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