Brightblack Morning Light is one of the leading players in the music scene that’s sometimes called freak folk, sometimes called the new, weird Americana, but is probably more accurately called the new hippie. And I’m not just talking about the beards and the long hair. In publicity material,
Brightblack’s singer Nathan “Nabob” Shineywater explains that he used to appear on stage with an arrow through his mouth “to engage the spirit of the maker of the arrowhead itself, to offer up Peace, that his warrior effort find a new respect.”
I rest my case. Mind you, I’m all for offering up peace, but all this hippie stuff makes me cringe. But Brightblack Morning Light’s music overcomes the baggage of their subculture. They may come across as a bunch of flakes, but the music is interesting, atmospheric, and downright sexy.
I never thought I would use the word “sexy” to describe music made by someone named Nabob Shineywater who sings with an arrow in his mouth. But, if you’re at home, go to YouTube and check out the band’s video for “Everybody Daylight.” (It’s not exactly safe for work.) As Rachael “Rabob” Hughes plays slow, warm electric piano, she begins singing — almost whispering, really — in close harmony with Shineywater. The recording is made with so much reverb that the instruments seem to shimmer. A synth makes weird little noises like a shiver going up your spine. And, in the video — actually a German experimental film from the 1960s set to the 2008 song — a woman is having sex with an unseen man. Now turn off the video, and you’ll notice that the music conveys the same feeling by itself.
BRIGHTBLACK MORNING LIGHT, Casbah, Monday, October 20, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12.