Music News

Jackie-O Motherfucker

Judging by the moniker under which he performs, Jackie-O Motherfucker leader Tom Greenwood isn't interested in impressing middlebrow music lovers -- but the collective's name is only the most obvious example of his outsider tendencies. He founded the project circa 1994, and over the course of ten releases, he's studiously avoided establishing a firm membership, choosing instead to employ a constantly shifting array of accompanists. And when these various co-conspirators head to the studio, they don't spend their time crafting pop-friendly melodies or honing hooks. Liberation, from 2001, features the likes of "In Between," replete with drones and squeaks that suggest a gaggle of very confused geese, and "Something on Your Mind," an atmospheric strum that prefigures "Hey! Mr. Sky" and "Nice One," a pair of future-folk excursions from the outfit's most recent CD, 2005's Flags of the Sacred Harp. Here and elsewhere, Greenwood utilizes a measured pace that allows his musicians to wring every last drop of beauty and doom from tunes that draw from traditional American sounds without being in thrall to them. That's a Motherfucker of a combination.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts