Before today I really had nothing against Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Sure, his insistence on saying he plays "Appalachian post-punk solipsist" when he's clearly a fairly run-of-the-mill folkie is a little pompous, and I've always been a little skeptical of failed actors trying their hand at music, but William Oldham's always been OK by me.
That was, until today, when the most annoying promotional CD in the history of promotional CDs was guided by The Devil's hand in to my mail cubbie.
The album, Beware, which I am totally incapable of offering an objective review of at this point, came with a big ol' sticker proclaiming "FYI: YOU'RE FONDLING A WATERMARKED DISC." That was fine by me. While I've never made a promo CD available to file-sharers, or even sold a promo CD to a used record store, many of my peers do, so I understand the concern.
I loaded the disc in to my iTunes to listen to -- as I do for a living -- and was digging the first track "Beware Your Only Friend" when a voice broke in to assure I was "enjoying a promotional copy of Beware by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy." Before the first song was even over, I was reminded again: "You are enjoying a promotional copy of Beware by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy." Again and again. Then, the interruptions started saying it in fake little Scottish and German accents. Ugh. This would be pretty annoying no matter the genre, but seemed especially grating given Billy's knack for crafting slow-burning folk ballads, which were invariably interrupted at key points.
On the plus side, I can gaurentee Bonnie "Prince" Billy's people at Drag City that no one will be distributing this CD -- it's going in the trash can by my desk right now. Sadly, though, this is also probably the last time you'll be hearing about his April 3 show at Modified Arts, since I can't render any real opinion on whether he's worth covering at this point.
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I might be interested in doing a review though. I'll be the one screaming "You are enjoying a rock concert by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy" through a megaphone in the middle of his set.