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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Horsed Around With Gender Roles

posted by on October 16 at 10:55 AM

Of Montreal photo by Matt Jordan

So, I went to this little Of Montreal show last weekend. There was a horse, a hanging, multiple set and costume changes, and something like 26 songs (not least of which was a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). There was also just so much more than I could possibly fit into the paper. For instance, in addition to this parenthetical:

(Fruit’s gender-bending, “queered out” personality could seem like crass tourism or sexual minstrelsy, if it weren’t for the fact that Barnes ultimately seems so genuinely sympathetic.)

I also wanted to mention: On the flight to New York, Of Montreal my travel mate was checking the new issue of Blender’s review of Skeletal Lamping. On the cover of that issue? Poster girl for sexual identity tourism in 2008, Katy Perry, a (former? lapsed? still?) evangelical pop starlet who cites Paris is Burning as her favorite film and can’t shut up about how her heavily made-up persona is just one step away from drag queen. Just seemed like an odd, interesting coincidence.

Also! Of all the songs Of Montreal played that night, the one currently stuck on repeat for me is “So Begins Our Alabee.” That sweeping, ascending moment that begins the first chorus just kills! And—this is weird—but the first time I really listened to the song, I completely misheard the line, “the aria is bleeding” as “the areola’s bleeding”—in my defense, Barnes’ aerial singing voice could easily jump over an “l” sound there, it’s totally the kind of anatomical subject matter he fucks with, and the song’s nominal subject is a newborn baby, who—and I know nothing about babies—could have been a difficult nurser, right? Right?

Skeletal Lamping is out, in an impressive array of formats, this Tuesday on Polyvinyl. Of Montreal play the Showbox Sodo (new website is wack, guys) on November 19th.

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