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Bill Callahan
Apocalypse - Drag City
FILTER Grade: 87%

By Jon Pruett on May 11, 2011


Bill Callahan

Apocalypse is Bill Callahan’s newest cryptic journey into the heart and art of this American life. Whether that life belongs to Callahan is never clear—he keeps the listener distant and focuses on apocryphal turns of phrases, sudden pauses, whistles, repetition and an evocative way of singing the word “colt.” Always more Monte Hellman than Martin Scorsese in terms of cinematic scope, Callahan turns in something close to pointed politics on “America!”—showing a love of the States’ greats (Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson) before counting down some of the country’s missteps (Vietnam, Afghanistan) against a rough, ragged 4/4 beat. But as with most of his work, the lines are drawn by the listener. The narratives are far from clear—but his timing and evocative phrasing carve away at some greater story.

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