Cursive sounds like Cursive. After 14 years and 8 records, distinctive and true, Tim Kasher and his Omaha band continue to alchemically pound out intellectual, intensely stormy accounts and contemplations into sublimely vitreous song-drops, the way a tempestuous ocean unfailingly beats jagged rocks into beautifully shiny, smooth stones.
Kasher’s graphic lyrics penetrate, perfectly dark. Combined with his weary, all-out, one-of-a-kind wail, his vocal lines simultaneously jar and transfix. Add to that longtime buddies/bandmates – Matt Maginn laying down reliably rousing, expert and heavily throbbing bass and Ted Stevens doing his thing on guitar – plus some spice from horn, Nord and, of course, fresh drumming, and you get living, ‘post-hardcore’, ‘indie rock’ manna in the form of these juicy live recordings.
The session was a full-out, engrossing, private concert of five songs – three from the new record, Mama, I’m Swollen, and two older favorites. Kasher gave it his all the whole time, wailing, possessed, invested and button-pushed.
Driftwood: A Fairy Tale came off immensely. This vital-as-ever rendition of their long-loved, umbral Pinnochio love tale originally emerged on Cursive’s 2003 album, The Ugly Organ. Occasional backing vocals – super low ala Leonard Cohen – add a surreal quality of slight ironic humor. Their other seasoned tune here is an energetic The Radiator Hums from 2000′s Cursive’s Domestica. From the new album, the band played Caveman, Mama, I’m Satan and last, a fittingly exasperated-sounding From the Hips, characteristically chock-full of savory lines, like: ‘I hate this damn enlightenment. We were better off as animals, right?’
A creatively tortured genius, Kasher naturally jacks up compassion meters in his fans. His songs, his smarts and the way he bares the intimate fabric that lines him on the inside make you love him.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):
By the way, the Cursive crew came casual (their most outstanding fashion flair occured in the subtle touch of Kasher’s light pink Chucks), reminding me of why I love to hang with artists and why I think music magazines with an emphasis on what bandmembers are wearing suck big ones. Long live substance and meaning.