She Speaks in Tongues
Kate McCandless samples music as hungrily as Girl Talk, but she doesn’t use a computer. With her band She Speaks in Tongues, the singer and guitarist repurposes well-worn rock and blues classics into new narratives. For the group’s debut, 2014’s Gloria, Guitar, they recorded original arrangements that consist entirely of pieces of other people’s songs recombined in surprising juxtapositions. On album opener “Blue,” Bessie Smith and Etta James vie for space with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” and Kate Bush shows up too for good measure. McCandless unravels threads from the music she loves to knot together her own bizarro-world reimaginings, a process she describes on her Tumblr as “a necessary feminist act in the context of the album—a reclaim of agency.” She sings her hybrids as if they’ve always been hers—and in a way, they always have been. She Speaks in Tongues challenges the idea that it’s possible for anyone to own music, unless they’re howling it with the kind of fire that flares when McCandless turns the Beatles’ “Because” into an oil-smeared war cry. This is her show, and she’ll steal whatever she wants and sell it like it’s brand-new.