February 6th, 2008 5:33 pm | by Amy Mccullough Music | Posted In: Cut of the Day

Whip, "Down By Blood" from Blues for Losers (Zeal Records)

whipTo anyone at all familiar with last year's cover-centric, p:ear-benefiting Bridging the Distance comp, it's probably no big surprise that the guy who covered Billy Idol's "White Wedding" has also penned an album titled Blues for Losers. And Whip, a.k.a. Jason Merritt, hasn't spared any of his warbly voiced suffering on Losers' opening track, "Down By Blood."

Much like he added a macabre solemnity to Idol's glam-rock standard, Merritt casts his own tunes in a weathered, dirt-filmed guise that smacks of hard, old times. Perhaps it's the blood-related title—or the gone-West-in-hopes-of-fortune look Merritt has going—but I can't shake how much the tone of this song conjures recent buzz flick There Will Be Blood.

Beyond the aesthetic similarities, there is indeed a sonic element to "Down By Blood" that makes me feel both uncomfortable and fully engaged, much like the aforementioned movie. There's a clanking-of-chains percussive sound and a whistle akin to wind whipping through a valley that permeate the whole song, but it's the discordant clanks and chimes that come in for the last minute or so—coupled with long-faced female backing vocals (courtesy of Joyell Dunay, as far as I can tell)—that makes this song downright chilling. Enjoy!


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