Ambrosia Parsley Continues Her Noir Comeback

by delarue

Singer Ambrosia Parsley got off to a pop-oriented start with Shivaree, best known for the noir pop hit Goodnight Moon from an early zeros Tarantino soundtrack. But her most memorable work to date has been for Air America, the network that braved the airwaves as a sane counterpart to wingnut radio during the mid to late part of the past decade. Much as Parsley’s acerbic, Phil Ochs-ish takes on the news of the day won her a wide audience back in 2004, she has not been idle since, with a new album in the works and an ep, I Miss You, I Do, to show for it in the meantime. She’s playing the big room at Rockwood tonight, 1/28 at 7:15 PM with some pals from her radio days including similarly politically-fueled comedienne Lizz Winstead and others; advance tix are $12 and available at the big room. Intriguing ambient/indie classical composer/violinist Christina Courtin follows afterward at 9:30 PM.

The ep bridges the gap between synthily textured indie rock and a more melodic, retro noir style. It opens with The Other Side, woozy vintage synth on the intro, a backbeat and an echoey wall of resonant guitars. There’s a bit of a Dolly Parton lilt in Parsley’s voice – undernearth all the rock trappings, this is a country song. Parsley follows that with Whispering Pines, a slow piano ballad with low, watery synth organ, sort of an update on creepy, Lynchian Julee Cruise pop.

Nighttime, with its ethereal acoustic guitar hook and gentle guy/girl vox, works a hypnotic post-Wilco Americana-pop vein that contrasts with the restlessness of the lyrics. Losing the Holiday slowly works a growling, guitar-fueled Americana rock vamp with twinkling electric keys overhead. The final track is The Answer (Tim & Becky’s Wedding, the most Lynchian cut here, an atmospheric take on wistful, angst-fueled Orbison pop. Imagine Dennis  Hopper gasping “Candy-colored clown!” to this helps fill out the picture.