“Is this karma or some grizzly retribution? Is this the price we pay for the land we take for a country predicated on the notion of deceit?” challenges Pussywillow Sparks (a.k.a Rebecca Riley, a.k.a one half of Bad Heart Bull). Joe Letke completes the musical pie on percussion, samples, and computerbox, but he was holding down the fort in the band’s hometown of Chicago, IL during the session.
Bad Heart Bull has a message to deliver. They formed in the Spring of 2008 to create “songs inspired by the crumbling post-industrial metropolis and by the struggle for social and environmental justice.” They, in fact, derive their name from Native American Sarah Bad Heart Bull who embodied the “struggle against the powers of oppression and colonization for the dignity, humanity, and autonomy of all peoples.” Far from shy in their quest to convey their messages, they use their songs as platforms to question current political powers, upside-down values of societies, and difficult-to-talk-about issues.
Delivering these messages on a platter of what might be described as simply lovely and enjoyable music, Bad Heart Bull creates a stirringly ironic atmosphere during their performance. One gets lost in the sultry southern rock/gospel/riot country/good ol’ folk/blues/jazz vocals of Miss Sparks, daydreaming of a home on the prairie only to be reeled back to earth by jarring questions concerning the violence that took place to make the home ours. To social causes Bad Heart Bull brings a beautiful voice pleasantly corrupted by reality and non-conformity. Watching the performance is something akin to sipping a decadent cup of coffee whilst watching a rainforest being chopped down.
Bad Heart Bull was previously Clitorectomy and the Mutilators. For an extremely detailed and eloquently written reasoning for the name change, check out this post on their myspace.
Recorded in the One Night Music Studio, Santa Barbara, CA on February 16, 2009.