Political rabble rouser and bandleader of The Curios, Nancy Hall, was born and raised in Pacifica, California and came out of the womb dancing. When asked she says her first favorite song was "the sound of the washing machine bumping against the wall", which she danced to. Later, she hid under the front porch and sang, "that's the story of, that's the glory of love" over and over while fantasizing about what actual love might be, the kind grown-ups have. She subsequently found out. And we are blessed.
Hall who, when not singing backgrounds for and touring with Neil Young, has a supremely quirky and beautiful way of writing and singing stuff about which you thought you'd heard all there was to hear. On their up-coming CD "Pillow Book" (now released!) she sings "I'm up to here in electric eels/and kissing villains for the way that it feels/hush now don't give it away/I'll always lose these games we play". This from a tune called "Mean Streak, (The knife-thrower's wife)".
Longtime cohort Lee Parvin's Dad forced him to practice the piano everyday so that now he has emotional scars that make him the deep guy that he is. He looks kind of scary, in a slightly "dark alley" way, until you hear him play his heart out on these sparse and elegant songs. He is a fine studio engineer, which comes in handy; he produced and recorded "Pillow Book" shoulder to shoulder with Hall and guitarist Marc Games. Parvin says "we are proud of capturing live performances rather than the methodical carpentry that goes into a lot of recording these days. It was fun getting to play and run the sessions, but at times rough wearing both hats".
The honesty of this live-in-the-studio approach matches that of the music. Songs like "Back In Spades" is an unabashed meditation on gratitude, while "Hollow" is a driving, thumping exploration of loneliness and loss, with a searing outro that is an echo of John Lennon's "I want you SO BAD" in it's desperation.
Hall and Parvin together with a scattered group of SF Bay Area bohos are The Curios, a band whose official flower is the opium poppy and official bird the fake Dodo in the museum of natural science in London. Between them they serve up turns on the accordion, piano, Hammond B-3, harmonica and melodica, as well as ukulele, guitar, glockenspiel, dulcimer and assorted gizmo's, which makes them so f’ing special! Seriously, check out a show. They play infrequently, so you have to be vigilant, but it's worth the wait.
Labels: Pillow Book, Review, The Curios