Frost: Nothing to Worry About
story by tim mcmahan
Lazy-i: March 22, 2006
w/ The Zincs, McCarthy Trenching
Friday, March 24, 9 p.m.
13th & Martha
voice is fragile.
Not in a permanent
sense. On the contrary, Frost's voice is one of the most resilient,
clever machines in indie music these days. It dips and draws and
emotes with her inspired poetry, with confidence, restraint and
introspection. With her voice, Frost has the ability to quickly,
quietly show you her heart in simple, almost lazy motions that
can make you forget that you've never met her before.
now, Frost's voice is weak. So weak, in fact, that she better
not speak. A former Internet pro (She made a living doing it;
really), she prefers to do our interview via crossed e-mails.
"It's nothing that's happened before on tour, even though
I get colds on the road all the time," she wrote, explaining
her muteness. "At the moment it seems to be a lot better,
though I don't want to mess it up by testing it too rigorously.
I know it's better than it was, 'cuz last week I was sounding
like a damn barnyard animal."
hope it was sheep rather than a cow or chicken. Frost, who's named
after her great-grandmother Edith Keator; ("They gave me the
middle name Keator as well, but I don't use that"), writes that
she's been making music her entire life.
my first guitar at 14 and that's been my primary instrument (such
as it is) ever since," wrote the Chicagoan, now in her early
40s. "Wrote my first song in my late teens and was recording
a bit through my twenties, but didn't really bust out and start
to do it seriously until I was 27 maybe?"
Her first gigs
were covering country and rockabilly tunes, keeping her own material
to herself until she got used to the idea of being on stage. "That's
always been the hard part for me, the performing," she wrote.
"And it is a lot easier for me to pull it off now that I've
had a lot more experience playing my music in different scenarios...
it's more fun too, because I have more confidence in what I'm doing,
I don't fuck things up as often as I used to! I had to gain that
confidence through experience, unlike some other aspects of this
business which came a lot more naturally, like fooling around with
tape-decks, and holing myself up in my apartment for days on end
to finish a song."
plenty of them. Four LPs' worth, to be exact, starting with her
'97 Drag City Records debut, Calling Over Time. Through them
all, she's created a mystical, mythical persona recognized by anyone
who's had their heart held for ransom, then released without permission.
The same, sad stories continue on her latest, It's a Game,
a collection that begs you to sing along with her heartache. So
much, in fact, that I've found myself absently crooning "You
want to spend your time with another woman" from opening
just *songs*, they don't amount to a great big autobiography,
it's not meant to be read literally that way."
a graphic, personal honesty to Frost's lyrics that haven't been
heard since Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville. When Frost sings
lines like "Seems like I'm walking around, with a broken
heart / Too heavy to let me breathe / I want to find somebody to
press against in the night" you worry that she's singing
about herself, that she's really that painfully, sadly lonely. How
can these songs not be about her?
they're just *songs*, they don't amount to a great big autobiography,
it's not meant to be read literally that way," Frost wrote,
trying to ease the mind of a stranger. "I might use a verse
I wrote down in one notebook plus a bridge I found on my computer
and a chorus I made up on the spot, because it rhymed. It's only
after the fact that I can step back and go 'Oh it sounds like it's
coming from the point of view of an extremely pissed-off scorned
woman, doesn't it. Huh. Well as long as it rhymes!!' So that's what
I mean when I say that the songs aren't all that personal by the
time I get to performing them."
We are only
to believe you, Edith.
When she came
through Omaha back in November 2004 with Manishevitz, Frost started
the night alone on stage, slowly bringing out members of her band.
By the time it was over, the quiet solo acoustic set was transformed
into a full-throttle rock show a la Throwing Muses, rife with noise
and distortion. What are we in for this time?
slightly different band
same rhythm section (Jason Toth and
Ryan Hembrey) but a new guitarist, Nathaniel Braddock. A great player
indeed," Frost wrote. "I really feel like this is the
best band I've ever toured with... so much talent to work with,
why not take advantage of those talents and let the boys experiment
a little? I have enough songs, I have no qualms about kickin' out
the jams on a few of them for the sake of variety. We all like the
Published in The Omaha Reader March 23, 2006.
Copyright © 2006 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.