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Andy Zipf – The Cowards Choir

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If you would, head over to andyzipf.com and check out Zipf’s new EP, The Cowards Choir. You can download it immediately – liner notes booklet and amazing illustrations included – paying whatever you want.

Long known for his emotionally driven, powerful, interactive and forward thinking live performances (which have included such things as singing tabletop and video montages), Andy is, in my opinion, one of the best indie musicians you’ve probably never heard of. Often compared to artists like Jeff Buckley and Bono, and seemingly influenced by artists like The Beach Boys, Sigur Ros and Radiohead, Zipf is able to meld heart on sleeve delivery with abundantly poetic lyrics to create a lovely, sometimes epic product, complete with vast soundscapes as well as intimate lullabies.

Check out this lyrical sample from the final song on this new EP, “We Will Carry the Weight”:

It opens:

You are the compass and the path
You’re the one I follow back
A tower on the shoreline when
I’ve been drifting from this land

I know time is ticking strong
The load is heavy, days are long
Our stride is steady, it is straigh
We will carry the weight.

Nary a word out of place or worthless here. This is good poetry period, poetry proper, whether there’s a melody with it or not. In this case, though, there is – and a lovely one at that. Zipf has always had a knack for crafting haunting love songs that capture the paradoxes of love and relationship beautifully. Much like Bono I’d say.

Consider also these lovely lyrics from “Like A River:”

Have you ever been cheated by the thing you most desire,
Kept locked down deep in the cages of your mind
In an old glass jar, so you can see, but never touch?
Oh, you’re givin all you can, but your givin ain’t enough.

Have you ever been ashamed of the man you have become?
Felt the heat of a lover fade cold within your arms?

Have you ever been played the fool and hid the damage done?
Oh, everybody’s takin and now you got nothin’ to show.

We will run like rivers, into oceans, out of time
Children become old men, become graves under ground,
But if our fathers will forgive us, we could start again,
Running over, like a river.

Here again is paradox. Doubt but hope, fear but promise, loss but forgiveness, stasis but change.

As is true of much of Zipf’s music, these four songs are filled with introspection and recollection; they are the record of a life lived, often fully though not always well. But, in the end, the living is beautiful. Andy Zipf’s music affirms life, in all it’s paradoxical, broken grandeur; for it’s vast horizons and deep seas and for how it’s lived in time and place and how, well, when it comes down to it, we’re all in it together.

Check out the EP. It’s fantastic.

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