After the ascension of Devendra & Co., when I hear “freak folk” I hear “bank,” so even though Joanna distanced herself from that “soulless, mindless, watered-down, image-obsessed, artless stab at John Fahey or Marc Bolan or Karen Dalton or Donovan or Vashti Bunyan,” it’s not surprising to find The Milk-Eyed Mender’s closer “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie” selling us checking accounts. It’s a beautiful song, and the commercial tries to use it to a super emo degree. Still, it’s not quite clear how this will get me to open an account at HSBC. The basic storyline: Environmentalists are protesting a group of lumberjacks about to chop down some old, big pines; it turns out one of the protesters “knows” one of the guys with one of the chainsaws. The final tagline: “We recognize how people value things differently. So what we learn from one customer helps us better serve another.” You’ll see.
Of course the story takes place in the woods. Pretty dramatic. In this current economic situation you’d think she’d be happy her partner has a job, even if it does involve wrecking forests. As silly as it is, the commercial reminded me of the Newsom song, which I hadn’t listened to in a while. Remember the beautiful finale? “I do as I please / Now I’m on my knees / Your skin is something that I stir into my tea / And I am watching you / And you are starry, starry, starry / And I’m tumbling down / And I check a frown / It’s why I love this town / Well, just look around / Just see me serenaded hourly / And celebrated sourly / And dedicated dourly / Waltzing with the open sea / Clam, crab, cockle, cowrie / Oh will you just look at me.” OK, we will.