Anni Rossi May 29, 2009

Anni Rossi

Sample this concert
  1. 1Welcome to Daytrotter00:22
  2. 2Machine02:30
  3. 3Venice02:33
  4. 4Wheelpusher03:04
  5. 5Las Vegas03:29
Anni Rossi May 29, 2009
Liner Notes

Here's betting that not many people listen to Anni Rossi's music and immediately think of the word gritty to describe it. Daring, maybe. Idiosyncratic, most definitely. Quirky, odd, colorful all stream from that train of thought too. But the grittiness is there just as much, past the plucking and popping violin playing and neck-and-neck with the sly abstractions that the Minnesota native gives all of the weight-bearing responsibilities in her lyrics. Rossi sounds sharpened though, the various sparks and turns, all of the rubs and the ribbings that she delivers with that classical instrument of hers are dangerous and daggered, pointed and slightly menacing. All of it comes alive or takes a lacing thanks to her dreamy words about being a beekeeper in the Himalayas or imagining herself - again, with a completely fictionalized dramatization that's been seen from every angle and fleshed out in great detail - as a prizefighter ready to go into the squared circle at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and take on Holyfield or Buster Douglas in his prime. She's tough in her words and assertive with her strange tempos and even stranger tempo changes, making a herky-jerky cruise of a ride - one that never gets nauseous or unpleasant, just interesting and daffy. It's a structurally familiar take that we also hear in the works of Regina Spektor, the freakishly glimmering songbird from New York City. It's a mode of construct that involves a total lack of prelude to anything that's about to come when those curtains arise and the words start coming out of her mouth and her fingers start their operations on the neck of that fiddle, treating it as a decoder ring or a descrambler. Her consistency in the songs on her latest effort, "Rockwell," is that of a precocious youngster, still not wanting to grow old (not necessarily grow up, though there are elements of that in there as well), willing to imagine impossibilities with a strong chin and willing legs - to go with a mind that refuses to think in implausibility. There's this "I can do it. I'll do it" sensation to Rossi's wavy and adamant numbers of whimsical fantasy and the most blue-blooded thoughts that tumble throughout her head at any given moment. One gets the feeling that Rossi tends to her memories of earlier years with fragility and candor, seeing them in the new lights of what she sees in the world that's opened up to her more so with each passing year. The more she sees, the more she's in love with the carefree nature of those adolescent times - both tempers coming out in the words and the music, which has the sharp edges and the hissing calluses of the darker matter. It's a forked-tongue situation where the primrose path is lined with poppies filled with sleeping poisons or razor blades. Some incredible lines come out of her on "Machine," a song of uncharacteristic gorgeousness that brings us closer to those things that we held dearest when we were snot-nosed and scraping our knees every time our parents turned their backs for any split second. She sings about the deterioration of everything that our bodies have. There is the wearing down of feet. There is the fading of our eyesight. There's the dulling of our sense of hearing. There's the thinning and graying of our hair. There's the thinning of our skin -- the intrusion of thick and purple veins and liver spots everywhere that we used to have a good tanning. But in the song, Rossi doesn't dwell on the falling apart, but the olden times when all of those things were still sharp and we were throwing snow and ice around in the winter like the crazed and cooped up children we once were - joyous in the cold temperatures that as adults we now despise. There's an insistence that we all start to become mechanized and maybe that's why we start losing all of our humanness. She sings that you can't buy these impulses from a machine and neither can you teach a mind to write songs this way - adventurous and strange, but altogether pretty as hell.