Amanda Palmer has a new album coming out, her first as part of Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra, and I’ve been trying to think about the last time I was this excited for new music. The brutal but beautifully shot video for “The Killing Type” was what sent me over the top when it arrived just a few days ago, but I think what really got this journey started for me was the band’s cover of Nirvana’s “Polly.”
When it first came out, I had no idea who was involved, other than Amanda herself. I was blown away by the way she took such a sparse song and turned it into something so sonically dense without ruining it, but I figured it was just Amanda by herself. Little did I know it was the beginning of the next phase of her career.
Here’s the thing about Amanda Fucking Palmer: she has amazing taste in collaborators. From her work with Brian Viglione in The Dresden Dolls—still the best opening act for Nine Inch Nails this fanatic ever saw—to her stellar collaboration with Ben Folds on Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, all the way through her collaborations on Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under with Tom Dickins of The Jane Austen Argument and Mikelangelo of Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen, this is a performer who knows how to pick ‘em. She finds people who will both complement her and challenge her, and she pushes herself in a new direction each time out, while still staying true to the core of who she is as a storyteller and musician.
The bandmates she’s assembled for Theatre is Evil are no different, and the songs they’ve helped her assemble are exactly what I’ve come to expect from Amanda: the unexpected. “Do It With a Rockstar” is an anthemic mashup of her best stuff, “Want It Back” and “The Killing Type” sound like Amanda found herself a DeLorean and brought a heaping helping of 1985 back to the future, and “Trout Heart Replica” seems to put everything she’s ever learned about breaking our hearts in song into one seven-minute masterpiece.
I have no idea what the rest of it will sound like, but I can’t wait to find out when I receive my digital copy for being a backer of the Kickstarter project that funded the album. Theatre is Evil is due out tomorrow, September 11, 2012. You can order it here.