Andy Tisdall is a member of Little Teeth, a band that put out a great year-end list record with Child-Bearing Man. But Andy’s solo album, Cotton Cannibals, quietly self-released and under most radars, also blew us away.

This is an album of ghosts, literal and metaphorical. Dusty and creaky pianos, banjos, and cellos congregate around simple folky vocal melodies that twist themselves into howling exorcisms. “Oh my ghost / it will howl / it will scream / when it leaves what I thought was a dream”, Andy intones on “War”, and it may as well be the album’s mantra. Cannibals sounds like Phil Elvrum and Tom Waits presiding over a 19th century Pentecostal seance in the Ozarks.

All of this works because of Andy’s uncanny talents as a songwriter and arranger. Even in its most destructive moments, Cannibals keeps its pop wits about it. But this is pop on his own terms, in his own Andy world. He has a lot of demons to release, and those demons are unquestionably honest as they coalesce in his strangled howl. Like many iconoclastic works, it requires some attention and patience, but the songs begin to unfold themselves upon repeated listening.

Cotton Cannibals is a major achievement and deserves to be heard. You can order it through Andy’s MySpace page.

This contribution was written by guest bloggers Maus Haus.