Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Do it bravely, Mieka Pauley sings on her latest record Elijah Drop Your Gun, and the words come at you like blunt force. It's the beauty she puts into the words, that are supposed to just kiss, supposed to just be a mantra for the silent leagues, for when not all of the world is listening. They are for her and by her, originating from the chambers and the inner sanctum of her chest. They are the words of affirmation and strengthening, that are to be whispered into one's own ears, should a body be able to contort in such a way, to rearrange itself to be more helpful and believable. They are meant to be comforting in that not everything works out (actually, most things do not), some things just splatter after the leapt of faith, but there's no harm in actually dropping and that's where the bravery that the New Yorker has abided by for her entire career comes from. It's not an overwhelming sort of "pick yourself up by the bootstraps and brush the dirt off of your ass" kind of frequency, but instead one that just emphasizes the need to be your own army, muscle, therapist and keeper of the karma. It's okay to fly blindly into the teeth of every storm you see even if you know nothing about the storms, so long as you're able to read all of your own vital signs. Pauley, who has recently been Twitter-friended by Rivers Cuomo-dueting Rainn Wilson and championed by Cosmopolitan magazine of all things, forms a kind of bluesy-folk rock and roll that doesn't pander to any easy clichés or dialogue, as that sort of music so often does. She feels the world whipping around, getting dizzy from the lashing and the tantrums that it spurts out in disgust and exhaustion, barely able to find the energy to stand, but then the words kick in and up she stands, able to survive, live to fight another day off (read: make the most of it). The only promises that she believes in are the ones that aren't already spoken as those are the most genuine, the less flimsy. Her tough woman, gentle soul take on the world is similar to the story about a young boy who's father wanted to teach him a life lesson, telling him to fall backwards and he'd catch him. The father let the boy fall to the ground and warned him to never trust anyone, not even his father. It's a harsh lesson, and likely a little too extreme for it creates a lonesome countenance and a heavy burden, but it's always brighter to be guided by the devils and the angels rummaging through your own head - the ones who are with you during those late nights driving through the dark back roads, unshakably warning and suggesting whatever kind of swill or stabilizing thoughts they can put into words. She brings words to her tongue that don't feel to be of difficult conception, as if they are the particles that have just been swishing around her canals and veins for all of her eternity, which is the only eternity that matters much. They are the pieces of her that she's never going to get rid of and it comes out as music that will make you feel minty and it will make you feel misty and just the right temperature - where the sun's blazing down on you on an otherwise chilly day. She takes fate on a day-to-day basis and that could be the smartest thing anyone can do. You carve your own way or whittle your own coffin.
Mieka Pauley Official Site