Ann Magnuson
Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories


What started off as a stage show, turned into a full-blown album. "Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories" is Ann Magnuson's first collection of new material since the highly raved-about "The Luv Show". Welcome back the Ann Magnuson that I've always loved. The Ann that made Bongwater comes alive on stage. Her live transformations on stage alongside Kramer were legendary. The one time that I was lucky enough to catch them live, I stood there mesmerized by her inner and outer beauty - her conviction that she's there to make all of us take notice, that we should all laugh at her nonsensical, awkward stories of boyfriends, rock stars and variety of bizarre scenarios. The woman had an aura that was unmistakable and one of a kind. This album continues along a similar vein to that of "Power of Pussy". On "Full of Fuck", she goes on to state with a straight-face,
"I met a girl named Margaret Cho
And I've got her to thank
Because of her one-woman show
About a special bank
Where dividends come from
Every fuck you didn't invest."
Just about every song is full of these insights. Ann is a great observer too.
" I just went in for a routine cleaning when
I suddenly find myself at a crossroads
In an old marketplace
The hot desert wind on my face
Lost in this strange Biblical place
But I know we are safe because
The U.S. Army is here
With a new fighter jet patrolling the area
Stealthily, so stealthily, more stealthily than ever
Thanks to the latest technology."
The word to "The Picture on my Dentist's Wall" couldn't be truer. She's a drama queen. She's a princess but most of all she's the star in her own directed movie. The songs rock. The have grand choruses that rise to us mere mortals from heavens above. Operatic faction and Broadway are in tow, as Ann stretches her vocal chords to reach new heights. Emotive force of these songs is unlike any spoken-word globs she's done two decades ago with Bongwater. She's alive. She's rad but most of all, she's an older sister I never had, dishing out advice and giving ample warning. Let's just hope the Ann I once lost is now back to stay for good.

- Tom Sekowski

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+ The Third Estate - Agonistes
+ Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Farewel Aldebaran
+ The Peace - Black Power
+ Gianluca Becuzzi/Fabio Orsi - Muddy Speaking Ghost Through My Machines
+ V.A. - Musical Brotherhoods from the Trans-Saharan Highway
+ V.A. - Bollywood Steel Guitar
+ B.Fleischmann - Angst Is Not Weltanschauung
+ The Clock Machine Turns You On - Vol. 2
+ Speedy J - Red Shift
+ Housemeister - Who Is That Noize - Remixes
+ Christian Fischer - Bryzant Games
+ Jean-Claude Ades - Finally!
+ Transmission - Sublimity

- - - - - - - - -

+ Chiwoniso - Rebel Woman / Hilde Marie Kjersem - A Killer for that Ache / The Alps - III / It's a Musical - The Music Makes Me Sick / Angles - Every Woman is a Tree / Marianne Nowottny - What is She Doing? / Los Angeles Electric 8 - Log Angeles Electric 8 / Gilbert Isbin / Jeff Gauthier / Scott Walton - Venice Suite / The Owl Service and Alison O'Donnell - The Fabric of Folk / Max Eastley / Graham Halliwell / Evan Parker / Mark Wastell - A Life Saved by a Spider and Two Doves / Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet - Live at Kosmos, Berlin / MIJ - Yodeling Astrologer / Gregg Porter - Final Final EP / Acida - The Greatest Hits / Joel Futterman / Alvin Fielder / Ike Levin Trio - Traveling Through Now / Random Touch - Duologue / Lisle Ellis - Sucker Punch Requiem / Junk Box - Cloudy Then Sunny / Claudio Parodi - A Ritual Which is Incomprehensible (to the smile of Pauline Oliveros) / Matthew Shipp Trio - The Multiplication Table / Howie B vs. Casino Royale - Not in the Face / Ascend - Ample Fire Within / Luomo - Convivial / Keiji Haino / Masami Akita - Kikuri - Pulverized Purple / Stereo Lisa - Anno Onno Monno / Christophe Bailleau & Neal Williams - On Soft Mountains We Work Magic / Henriette Groth / Lotte Anker - Du Fugl
+ Steinski - What Does It All Mean? 1983 - 2006 Retrospective
+ Anthony Pateras / David Brown / Sean Baxter - Interference
>> Ann Magnuson - Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories
+ Thomas Feiner & Anywhen - The Opiates - Revised
+ Lux Nox - S(M)S
+ David Grubbs - An Optimist Notes the Dusk
+ Jamie Lidell - Jim
+ Carl Michael von Hausswolff - Perhaps I Arrive - Music for Ataturk Airport, Istanbul
+ Pantaleimon - Mercy Oceans - Heart of the Sun - Tall Trees EP
+ Muslimgauze - Jaagheed Zarb - Jah-meArab
+ Arsenije Jovanovic - Galiola - Works for Radio, 1967-2000
+ Radio I-Ching - The Fire Keeps Burning
+ Pedal - Pedal
+ Various Artists - Teaism - Music Inspired by The Art and Culture of Tea / Various Artists - Kalk Seeds - Karaoke Kalk Compilation No. 2 / Various Artists - Sesame Street Playground / Various Artists - Peter Grummich Plays Staubgold - Dinner Music for Clubbers / Various Artists - Polish Village Music 1927-1933 / Various Artists - FabricLive 42 - FreQ Nasty / Various Artists - Shapes 08:02