The penultimate track on Absinthe & the Dirty Floors’ self-titled LP — “Sonario” (listen: ) — is The Dirty Floors at their most chaotic. Restless guitars and a panic of drums nearly consume it entirely, save for several lulls for Jessica Risker to sing, sometimes scream, hopelessly. She claims “things are going nowhere” and “things are getting nowhere.” She wants “a place to hide,” man, and she seems to find it deep inside her cloak of rock ‘n’ roll. It protects her from the evil she’s alarmed by.
Some time after I included the album on my list of the best local releases of 2012, Jessica reached out to advise me that she saw the list. More to the point she wanted to tell me about her solo project. Over the summer Jessica released an EP under the moniker Deadbeat and wanted to know if I’d like a listen. I told her of course.
My Eyes Are Bleeding Bits of Gold opens with “Three Birds Were Sitting On a Wire,” a monologue track that seemed a curious reminder of “Sonario.” In “Three Birds Were Sitting On a Wire,” a cautious gentleman pitches a story:
Three birds were sitting on a wire. Three of ‘em. One of ‘em decided to fly away. How many were left? Three of ‘em were left. You know why three was left? Because he just made a decision to fly away. He didn’t actually do it.
Jessica — “Sonario” Jessica, to be sure — was the bird on a wire that “decided” to fly away. She didn’t take action. Jessica cowered at the hint of wickedness and slipped under her rock blanket instead of, maybe, negotiating with flames.
As the man’s voice disappears, a guitar lazily steps in. It’s the start of “Colloidal Silver,” and Jessica seems reluctant to be there. Over and over she repeats the EP’s name, My Eyes Are Bleeding Bits of Gold, as well as “there’s no way out.” She’s battered and confused, and sounds robotic, too. As if she’s closing in on technological singularity. Did she realize horror as her mind raced beneath the rock blanket, or was she crippled by it once she tore away the blanket? I’m not sure.
Side B of My Eyes Are Bleeding Bits of Gold is called “Option 3/Dangerous!” It’s less interesting than the side that preceded it. Perhaps that’s why I have less need to write about it. The man from Side A returns. He sounds more paranoid now, and spits cutting threats against a backdrop of dizzying spells. It might be the very threat Jessica begged to avoid.
- The Chicago-based Deadbeat is a solo project by Jessica Risker. | Facebook
- My Eyes Are Bleeding Bits of Gold is available for $3 (mp3s) or $7 (7″ vinyl). | Bandcamp
- The digital edition of My Eyes Are Bleeding Bits of Gold includes a bonus Side C. The “side” was not included in my review.
- Deadbeat plays at Cafe Mustache tonight. 2313 N. Milwaukee Ave. 9 p.m.
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