Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) is a notorious enigma, prone to bouts of debilitating depression, fits of temporary psychosis, and public outbursts. This emotional earnestness has come to define the career of one of rock’s most captivating heroines of the last 15 years. We drink it in, part and parcel with Marshall’s often introspective, biographic songwriting, assuming the glimpses of instability provide a clearer picture of the artist’s work.
Below, stream a live recording of “The Leopard and the Lamb” – a track that has never made it to any of Marshall’s studio releases. The song features the stark, minimalist play of avant-garde guitarist Loren Connors. Connors is a virtuoso, whose prolific catalog includes more than 60 releases. He is a master at creating deceptively expansive soundscapes out of understated, melodic improvisation.
This duet allegedly took place in October of 1999 at Tonic on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. If this is true, it places Marshall in the throes of a creative limbo following the release of her critically acclaimed fourth LP, Moon Pix. I was unable to confirm the source of the recording, aside from an old post on a defunct French music blog that featured a broken link to seven live tracks from Connors and Marshall around the same time.
Confirmed or not, the sonic sensibility of “The Leopard and the Lamb” falls in line with the bald, ghostly material that would comprise Marshall’s 2000 release of The Covers Record. Though it had never previously occurred to me, Connors’ influence drips all over that release. Anyone with more information on Marshall’s work with Connors or this particular version of “The Leopard and the Lamb,” feel free to hit us up in the comment box. For more on Connors, check out his most recent release A Fire on Family Vineyard Records.
Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, is not a new comer to indie rock. She has been on the block some time, dealing with multiple bands, drug and alcohol problems, and every other thing under the sun. She has produced 8 LPs and 2 EPs during her time, some critically acclaimed and others not so much. But all this experience has brought her the one grand thing that a life with such triumphs and troubles promises: soul. She sings with her heart on her sleeve, her voice in the realm of Fiona Apple and the late Amy Winehouse. Her latest single, entitled “Ruin”, begins with a piano before a pop beat drops in. It’s a song that has music inspiring feelings of angst with Chan’s voice providing a calming presence throughout. Life has a way of awarding it’s own prerogative to people, and Chan certainly is displaying hers in his song. Her latest album, Sun, is due out on September 4 on Matador Records. Pre-order via iTunes. Listen to “Ruin” and check out the track list below.
5. Always On My Own
6. Real Life
7. Human Being
9. Silent Machine
10. Nothin But Time
11. Peace And Love
Written by Greg Dahman