Not that we're surprised to hear it; Atlanta has long been hip to Ms. Monáe.
Still, it's nice to hear them good ol' boys from the Big Apple confirm what we already knew, as the Village Voice's Rob Harvilla does in his post, "SXSW 2009 Best in Show: Janelle Monáe":
Ideally at this thing you find someone to champion, whether they're a relative unknown or already loudly championed by myriad others. Definitely the latter here: Janelle's been hailed as the future of r&b for what feels like years now; should that come to pass, the future of r&b will apparently be fantastically incoherent.
No worries, that's New Yawk City critic-speak for "we digs ya." He gushes on:
she vacillates gleefully from Orwellian space-funk to skronking heavyy metal to her pretty incredible torch-song cover of Nat King Cole's "Smile" to the new "Tightrope," a fantastic pop-r&b anthem with serious "Umbrella"-of-2009 potential. Throughout, she dabbles in diva howls and operatic lunacy, all while dancing like a robot trying to do the Human.
Harvilla said more superb stuff about Monáe in an earlier SXSW 2009 post after her show last Wednesday:
She is deeply strange and supremely confident in her strangeness, rattling off dystopian sci-fi torch songs with both Bond-theme and Tron overtones, her backing band very Purple Rain in its commitment to almost cock-rock heights of excess, lots of guitar shredding and whatnot, as if every part of every song is the last 45 seconds of "Let's Go Crazy."
He pretty much sums it up here:
she seems destined for a stage and a spotlight so huge and futuristic they don't exist yet.
Harvilla also gave kudos to former Athens resident, Phosphorescent:
Cheerfully delivered depression is also Phosphorescent's guiding interest -- primary engine Matthew Houck (who pulled a reverse Monáe, Georgia to NYC) plays dewy, misted-over, sad-sack folk that valorizes shiftlessness, stasis, stunned inaction: "I'm a Full Grown Man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day)," as his best song puts it.
And here, he waxes on about Phosphorescent's set which featured songs from his newly released album dedicated To Willie as in Nelson:
He appears to be having the time of his life up there, smiling beatifically though his heart is breaking, or his inspiration's heart at least.
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