Shot through the Heart with a Cannonball by Joyanna M.
When “Cannonball,” by The Breeders, first came out, I couldn’t get enough of it. The bursts of machine-gun snare, and the pop harmonies; the chunka-chunka guitar riffs and Kim Deal’s alto voice. But when they run the vocals through the distortion in the chorus is pure musical orgasm. The edgy anger smoothed over with a fat compression, a blend of cotton and steel wool, makes you instinctively reach for the lube.
I have not heard much since that can capture that same level of sensuousness, music like sparring, where you want your partner to hit you harder so you can feel it more. It is like a couple of double espressos with cream and tinnitus. A cardio workout for your tympanic membrane, vibrating against your skin until you’re numb.
It has been my goal, as a musician, to find or recreate that sound. I have found pieces that approach it, including Diamonds by the Neo Kalashnikovs, a regrettably obscure New Zealand band fronted by Volita Bioleti. They have the good fortune to be stuck in the grunge era, but they are good soldiers for the cause, faithfully extending the enthusiastic hopelessness that makes the music endearing.
Recreating the sound has been challenging. My partner, Lily Bell, who sings for me in Aquamarine Space Unicorns, has a dulce voice that I have been able to use to great effect. It’s the same alto range as Kim Deal and Volita Bioleti, so I had hoped that getting the same love-snarl would be easy. However, notching out the perfect comb of frequencies to add a shot of whiskey to her voice has been elusive.
The Breeders have remained a fundamental part of my musical collage. Other bands of their time are now only dated postcards. I continue to search for that same spellcasting enchantment. They showed me the potential in the crux between a woman’s voice and modern audio textures.
About the Author:
Joyanna M. resides in Seattle and creates fiction, poetry, art, and music. Her ’Self Portrait’ painting was selected as cover art for Wicked Banshee Press, The Devil’s Doorbell: Vagina Edition. Other works have been chosen for Moonchild Magazine, Bombus Press, and Five:2:One. She produces music under the moniker ’Aquamarine Space Unicorns.’ You can follow her on Twitter at @joyanna1985, Facebook/Instagram @joyannam1985, and read selected works online at www.joyannam.com.