Pint of Blood


A pint is the usual amount extracted when you donate blood. Is that what the title of Jolie Holland’s fifth CD references? Or is it a different sort of bloodletting—perhaps the sort that shows up in “Remember” (“It brings a smile to my lips/When I think of your fist narrowing in on and cracking his ribs”)? Hard to say: Her title is as elliptical as her lyrics, and her singular manner of vocalizing makes sussing those out even more of a challenge. When Holland begins with a song about misconceptions driving the disintegration of a relationship (“All Those Girls”), she doesn’t just sing. It’s as if she’s wringing the words out of herself, and the emotional intensity is only amplified by the slashing and searing of Grey Gersten’s guitar. And when Holland closes with a transformative rendition of Townes Van Zandt’s “Rex’s Blues,” she gleans the song’s despair in a way that no one else has managed. –Stuart Munro

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