Rasputina Great American Gingerbread
(2011, Filthy Bonnet Co.)
This eighth Rasputina release is a limited-edition compilation by the quirky rock band led by Hudson songwriter/vocalist and one-time Nirvana cellist Melora Creager, the corset-clad goth queen who has also churned out such weird wonders as “Transylvanian Concubine” (heard on TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and subsequently remixed by Marilyn Manson). The 14-track B-side beauty she’s offering up here is something the 17th-century songstress has kept under her skirts for quite awhile. Mostly recorded in the early 2000s, this is a delightful stash of unreleased soundtrack material (instrumentals “On My Knees” and “Loom”), haunting covers (“I Go to Sleep,” a Pretenders rendition of a Kinks song), unused demos (two versions of the whacked-out “Black Hole Hunter”), and songs pulled from compilations.
Combining chamber music, hard rock, punk, and pop with oddly layered vocal harmonies, this diehard-fan record also features a sparse yet screeching remake of old favorite “Gingerbread Coffin” (“Pudding Crypt”), the funny and frisky “Do What I Do,” “The Ballad of Lizzie Borden,” which Creager wrote when she was seven, and one of her ever-bizarre spoken-word pieces, “Mysterious Man-Monkey,” based on a BBC newscast about a creature terrorizing New Delhi. A bonus DVD of an intimate 2002 gig at the Knitting Factory in New York shows one of Rasputina’s earlier lineups performing old favorites, a Q&A session between songs, and, of course, Creager’s idiosyncratic wit, which has charmed audiences for the past 15 years. www.rasputina.com.