Cillie Barnes – “Earthquake Season At The Crystal Convention” (Stereogum Premiere)
“You’ve got to get through the shadows to appreciate the light,” Cillie Barnes wisely opines on the refrain of “Earthquake Season At The Crystal Convention.” It’s a comforting notion on a song that plays out like a nursery rhyme for adults. Barnes previously debuted “Facework,” a brooding, shimmering condemnation of betrayal, and while “Earthquake Season” takes on the the same sheen, it whirls with the playfulness of a merry-go-round. Barnes has a scratchy, warm voice that sticks in your head, and her free-spirited embrace of crystals and their powers in the midst of a natural disaster is indicative of the secluded, spiritual corner of Los Angeles where she lives. The song’s constantly shifting sound was again constructed by Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes; glimmers of string and lines of piano change hands over a simple, insistently strummed guitar riff.
But if you thought the crystals that Barnes lists off in the bridge of the song were merely rhetorical devices, you’d be mistaken. In fact, she said that section of the song has its own name, and mentioned several more stones that didn’t make it into the song because of space:
During the bridge part of this song — which we called The Crystal Countdown — my intention was to alphabetically list crystals and their properties from A-Z. I only got to Q because we ran out of space. So for the curious. A list of the ones I was going to name from that point on: Rhodocrosite, Shaman Stones, Tiger’s Eye, Unakite, Vanadinite, Xenotime, Wolframite, Yellow Apatite and Zincite.
Hear the whole trip below, and if anyone wants to talk crystals after, leave your notes in the comments.
Barnes’ singles collection Friendly Witch is out 4/30. Pre-order it here.