Record Review 

Singer/guitarist Thalia Zedek, a veteran of bruised blues and battering bands Live Skull, Uzi and Come, has a 20-year wait on her shoulders. Now she turns her hoarse growl -- which cuts like a serrated slur through the densest din -- to a mellower but hardly muted world of dimly lit cabarets on her solo debut. Been Here and Gone also features the guitar of Come's Chris Brokaw, along with piano and viola, making for a mix that sits comfortably (if such a thing is possible) alongside the chamber rock of Nick Cave and the Dirty Three.

Lost love is Zedek's Godot on Been Here and Gone -- and she forever awaits its return. But it's the waiting that's truly rewarding. Zedek sings torch songs not to eulogize a flame from her past, but to remind her she's survived. Through the haze, she tells of her scars, some the result of self-inflicted wounds. Other times, she unflinchingly cuts her lovers down.

Still, a smoldering hope emerges from Zedek's dark drone and melodic moan, making Been There and Gone a solo debut worth waiting for.

Thalia Zedek performs Fri., Oct. 19, at The Earl.

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