“Lady Saves the Dragon (From the Evil Prince)” – Bonfire Madigan
I don’t think I’ve ever been tempted before to feature a song simply because of its title but this one was hard to resist. Fortunately the song backed me up here: a strange but hearty slice of punk-cello-rock with a great pulse, an uncorked singer, and the ability to create loose-cannon drama out of not a lot of actual noise. There are no electric instruments here–just a cello, a contrabass, and drums. And then at the center, cellist Madigan Shive’s unruly, Björk-ish yowl. (I don’t by the way think that those electronic punctuation marks heard at 2:45 and 2:52 are vocal shrieks but then again you never know.)
Even as I continue to find it hard to get my arms completely around this, I remain amazed each time I listen by how quickly time passes here; the song is just about four minutes but feels much more fleeting, even as the deep sounds of those big-bodied stringed things ground this odd composition in something rich and compelling. Something is happening here but I don’t know what it is.
Bonfire Madigan is the name of the four-person ensemble founded in 1998 by Shive, who comes by her freewheeling sound rightfully–she grew up in an extremely alternative household, was called Running Pony until she was six years old, and was thereafter given an expanding variety of names until, at 14, she chose one of them, Madigan, for keeps. This song is the semi-title track from Bonfire Madigan’s Lady Saves EP, released in May by Shive’s own MoonPuss Records. A full-length album is expected before the end of the year.