Free and legal MP3: Shannon McArdle

Hypnotic, Phair-esque post-divorce pain

“Poison My Cup” – Shannon McArdle

Creating a world of hurt and yearning out of a repetitive two-chord riff isn’t probably the easiest thing to do, but Shannon McArdle appears to have a lot of hurt to spare. “Poison My Cup” not only succeeds, but when it ends, I’m not ready. The evocative vocals, sounding like a prettier-voiced Liz Phair; the strong yet insouciant bass line; the oddly uncelebratory tambourine; the steady, intermittently forceful drumbeat—together they create a brisk, hypnotic dirge of a song, complete with mournful wailing at just the right moments. I could listen to this just about all day.

The backstory of the hurt: McArdle joined the band the Mendoza Line in 2000, and married bandmate Timothy Bracy in 2005. Both the band and the couple both broke up within the last year; the mini-album 30 Year Low, released last August, was a searing document of the divorce.

“Poison My Cup” suggests that McArdle is still processing the painful events of the past year or so, as does the title of the album on which you’ll find the song (Summer of the Whore), which is scheduled for release next month on Bar/None Records. MP3 via Bar/None.

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