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Provisions

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Editors’ Notes

Howe Gelb is Giant Sand. He is also The Band of Blacky Ranchette, Arizona Amp & Alternator, OP8 and a solo artist. How he determines which umbrella to record under is something only he truly understands. 2008’s ProVisions features the same “Giant Sand” line-up that backed him for the previous album, 2004’s …Is All Over…the Map, since his once steady compatriots from earlier albums decided to make their Calexico side-project full time. In the end, it all comes down to Gelb, no matter how many guests he seats. Neko Case, Isobel Campbell, M. Ward, Voices of Praise Choir, and Henriette Sennenvaldt are on the list and each adds a nice touch. But the overall trajectory here is another typically casual Gelb wander through an anonymous night where a live band brew over some warmly distorted guitar and Gelb sing-speaks rhymes both silly and serious, with a vague sense that either the apocalypse or a sunrise is close at hand. The low-key burn of “Spiral” and “Pitch & Sway” capture this vibe brilliantly. For an extra push, PJ Harvey’s “The Desperate Kingdom of Love” is given a commanding performance with the piano and slide guitar creating a tension that steadily rises.

Customer Reviews

when something ain't broke, you don't fix it.

I've been spending a lot of time with this record the past 3 days and let me say that Howe easily grows on you. This record is another great offering. Unusual, sly, dusty and full of wit, proVISIONS is a continuation of what howe has been doing for years; astmospheric at times, stompin at others. More like AAAA than Chore of Enchantment. My new favorite. Those other cats reviewing didn't bother giving it a chance. I love MUCK machine!!! more muss!

Dark Americana

I picked this up at the record store after being intrigued by the two songs. After the first two spins of the album I began to feel that the first three tracks were good simply because of the help that Gelb received from M. Ward and Neko Case. The rest of the album seemed to be fluff. Further exploration revealed a dark, complex, gem that I really enjoy. This is a difficult dark recording that grows on you. The vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation paint the picture of a decrepit place that once was great. The blues and emotion put into this work is truly was is presented to the listener, making it one of the best of 2008.

Back in El Paso

For those of you who do not understand, this is a blues album, like the kind you would have heard live in El Paso forty years ago. It's dark, gloomy but promising introspection.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Tuscon, AZ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Giant Sand was the primary outlet for the stylistic curveballs and sun-damaged songcraft of Howe Gelb, a Pennsylvania-born singer/guitarist who formed the four-piece Giant Sandworms after relocating to Tucson, Arizona in the mid-'70s. After releasing the EP Will Wallow and Roam After the Ruin in 1980, Gelb fired everyone but bassist Scott Gerber (although founding guitarist Rainer Ptacek returned to the...
Full Bio
Provisions, Giant Sand
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