Only in Amanda Palmer’s Brain

Amy Dupcak :: Friday, June 18th, 2010 11:30 am

As singer and keyboardist of the Dresden Dolls, Amanda “Fucking” Palmer experimented with circus-y, punky, cabaret tunes while on a major label. Since then, she’s stepped out of the stripey tights and recorded a successful solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, which her loyal fans adored. But after escalating battles with Roadrunner Records, she was “pretty committed to getting dropped” by her label and thus set out fully on her own.

Amanda’s latest project is twofold. She just completed an album called Amanda Palmer Plays the Popular Hits of Radiohead on her Magical Ukulele, which, big surprise, is chockfull of Radiohead covers via ukulele! At Coachella, she led a “Creep” sing-a-long while she was held aloft by fans and just recently I caught her performing (in a corset and boots) a rather somber version of the album’s first single, “Idioteque,” (available now via Bandcamp) during the second half of her Evelyn Evelyn show. This among other dynamic solo songs, like one she wrote after having issues with her label, wherein she proudly admits to being “a blowjob queen.”

Speaking of which, Evelyn Evelyn is yet another of Palmer’s fantastically weird projects, also involving a keyboard and ukulele. The Siamese Twin sister duo of Evelyn and Evelyn were “discovered” by Palmer and her new sidekick, the accordion-minstrel Jason Webley, and convinced to perform tricks and music seemingly against their will. Palmer and Webley play the two sisters, hiding their very separate bodies under a large skirt and functioning, for the most part, as one entity: Palmer using her left arm and Webley using his right. Of course they also have matching bobs, headbands, and makeup. As Sxip Shirey (whom they eventually shoot) introduces these freaks of nature to the crowd, Palmer is both mocking and paying intense tribute to circus sideshows of yore and other (or actual) performing Siamese Twins like Daisy and Violet Hilton, and Millie-Christine. While the twins are reluctant to perform like monkeys, they churn out some hilarious songs as well as an absolutely chilling rendition of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” They’ve been touring North American (and couch-surfing too) since May, playing five nights in New York City alone.

But back to the Radiohead covers: Palmer was also inspired by the groundbreaking donation-only release of Radiohead’s In Rainbows, and thus her album will be available only for donation through bandcamp. As always, she goes one step further by making it available as a vinyl (limited to 1,000 pieces) that will be bundled with special extras, including ukuleles she hand-painted, and a personal phone call to the buyer, so you can tell her exactly how you really feel! The album is available starting July 17th on the internet form and will be accompanied by a Special Luau Webcast during which Palmer hopes to lead a tiki-lit limbo contest. That girl, that girl.