Album reviews: The Horrors "Skying" and Tig Notaro "Good One" - Reverb

Album reviews: The Horrors, Tig Notaro

Would you let this woman into your home? Comedian Tig Notaro has played both comedy clubs and peoples' houses in the past with Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and others. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Would you let this woman into your home? Comedian Tig Notaro has played both comedy clubs and peoples' houses in the past with Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis and others. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Tig Notaro, “Good One” (Secretly Canadian)

It’s been a strong year for stand-up comedy albums, with killer entries from Louis C.K., Natasha Leggero, Doug Stanhope and today’s release of new discs from Marc Maron and Michael Ian Black, both on Comedy Central Records.

Less high-profile but equally worthy is former Denverite Tig Notaro, whose patient, relentlessly honed material arrives via pleasantly deadpan delivery. Best known as Officer Tig on “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Notaro is an L.A. veteran who has, until recently, been criminally underappreciated by the comedy-loving public.

In a just world, “Good One,” the first stand-up release on indie music label Secretly Canadian, will change that.

Her short bits, such as riffing on “gross” popular phrases or commenting on Cher’s gender-shifting son Chaz Bono, are fantastically economical, showing off her keen timing and surgical phrasing.

And yet her longer, more narrative-oriented bits are somehow equally focused. Whether she’s recounting a bizarre series of occurrences involving Taylor Dayne, or deconstructing a “No Moleste” sign on a hotel-room door, the jokes are so casually delivered that you’re caught mostly unaware when the devastating punch lines drop anchor.

If you’ve seen Notaro live, you’ll miss her expressions and gesticulations, which help heighten the sense of quiet absurdity. But as the first official album from one of stand-up’s best-kept secrets, “Good One” succeeds splendidly. –John Wenzel

The Horrors, “Skying” (XL)

Cheers to the fans who have stuck with the Horrors for the two records since 2007’s “Strange House.” Once a flavor-of-the-week band best known for its goth-y outfits/outlook, they’ve evolved something fierce.
The band’s second record was a shoegaze experiment with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow tweaking the knobs. This third release is a moody, dreamy throwback to more accessible, synthesizer-scored times. To the band’s credit, “Skying” isn’t a straightforward retro release but rather a curious experiment with the form they’re paying tribute to.

“I Can See Through You” is one of those dynamic excursions in ’80s revisionism that has you itching to take out your Echo & the Bunnymen records, even though the Horrors seem to avoid the obvious melody lines and the expected synth crescendos. After a spacey, 100-second, mid-tempo intro, “Endless Blue” turns into a frenetic guitar jam that could sit comfortably alongside Sonic Youth’s most accessible work.

Which isn’t to say that this record is an easy listen. In three CDs, the Horrors have made a name for themselves by crafting music that is all over the map. They’re punk. They’re shoegaze. They’re post- punk. And this incarnation suits them just fine — though fans shouldn’t get used to the sleek, softened curves that make up “Moving Further Away” — because that’s likely just what they’re doing as we get used to this latest sound. –Ricardo Baca

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John Wenzel is an executive editor of Reverb and an award-winning A&E reporter for The Denver Post. He is the author of “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” (Speck Press/Fulcrum) and maintains a Twitter feed of completely random song titles and band names.

Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.