Arts Desk

Tuesday Rock City: PJ Harvey & John Parish, I.U.D.


I.U.D.: The Proper Sex (Social Registry)
I.U.D, the New York duo comprised of Gang Gang Dance's Lizzi Bougatsos and Growing's Sadie Laska, isn't just assertive about female sexuality, it's down right aggressive. The group's first full-lenth, The Proper Sex, is sort of the all-girl avant-garde equivalent of 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be. The song titles alone–"Monk Hummer", "Girls Just Wanna (Time to Have Sex)"–should be enough warning to keep the prudes from placing it on the turntable. But what can the rest of us expect? Well, a lot of moaning, for one thing. After that, a lot of noisy industrial samples, the savage battering of junkyard percussion, and a whole lot of other ugliness of the early-Boredoms variety. It's all a little too confrontational to be called sensual, but kinky, for sure.

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PJ Harvey & John Parish: A Woman a Man Walked By (Island)
Those waiting for PJ Harvey to drop her voice back to a low growl, pick up an electric guitar, and put the ethereal genius of '07s White Chalk behind her, sorry, that might still be a few years away. A Woman a Man Walked By, Harvey's latest collaboration with producer/musican/songwriter John Parish–coming ten-years after their first shared record Dance Hall at Louse Point–is decidedly high concept, which is to say, weird. Parish–who also helped produce White Chalk–provides the music here, ten tracks that veer from slanted Beefheartian-blues of "Pig Will Not", to the ethereal folk of "Leaving California," while Harvey sings, hollers, and groans. It's theatrical, to say the least, and you don't have to wait all the way until Harvey yelps the tongue-twister "Lilly-livered little parts", during the title track, to figure that out. But Harvey and Parish's show, gothy and freaky as it is, is a riveting one, full of strong songwriting and soft heartbreaking melodies.

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