What Was Me (KLP117)
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The first of what promises to be many posthumous solo albums from Calvin Johnson, culled from the extensive archive of tapes left behind by the prolific songmaker and performer. Calvin Johnson made up songs about the feeling inside for over twenty years. What Was Me collects ten bits of lifeness and spreads them thickly with voice and acoustic guitar; a capella 40% of the time. There are patches that are worn and threadbare but the overall effect is gutty and moist. The affect is also noteworthy. Calvin is joined by the K divas Mirah on "Ode to St. Valentine" and Beth Ditto (the Gossip) on "Lightnin' Rod for Jesus". Calvin Johnson is also known for his work with Beat Happening, Dub Narcotic Sound System and Halo Benders. He has performed all over the country and the world, in basements, gymnasiums, theaters, art galleries, nightclubs, city parks, coffee shops, outdoor amphitheaters, hotel lobbies and ice cream stands; his songs have been recorded by the likes of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Spectrum, Luna, Seaweed, Jazz Butcher, Lois Maffeo and Yo La Tengo. He has produced work by such folks as Mirah, the Gossip, Make-Up, Built to Spill, Gene Defcon, Sarah Dougher, Versus, godheadSilo, Modest Mouse and Robyn Hitchcock.