"Ohmigod I love Annah Anti-Palindrome and I love the beautiful CD/zine/manifesto/button she gave me as I scooted out of our reading at Pegasus Books last week. I had to run back to San Francisco to get inseminated, so I missed her act and I am so sad about it I will book her in a RADAR very soon! Annah is a musician, a singer-songwriter, and her songs are so sweet and layered with what sounds like the voices of little baby angels who assembled themselves into a harmonizing girl group. There is rudimentary beat boxing and pretty guitar and some songs sound more whimsical and some more soulful and they are all infused with a sort of girl-ish melancholy and true sincerity. And the lyrics are wonderful -love you like steel wool/like cold handlebars/like porcupines trapped in mason jars. It's something to hear the lines 'I want to open my head / Dissect my brain' in such a tender voice. The CD "Handmade because you're worth it" comes with a little booklet of notes about the songs, as well as a card titled Resisting Palindromes which movingly explains Annah's punk name after her mom died of a morphine overdose, Annah tossed an "H" into her given name of Anna, disrupting the palindrome as a way of disrupting the repetitive, violent legacies a childhood can leave you with. Change your name, change your life! You should check this person out."
by Michelle Tea
Shut Up Songwriters!
A review on the work of Oakland's Annah Anti-Palindrome
“…And while there are a handful of tracks contained on An(n)a(h)log which are of the sort you'd expect from a prototypical songwriterâ€ (Stairwell being the inarguable best of this variety), the majority of the material is an ineffable amalgamation of sound collage, performance art, and the avant-garde. Whether it's the looped throat clearing and swallowing sounds that permeate tracks like Esophagus Microphones to haunting effect, or the eerie inclusion of a minor mode rendition of London Bridge is Falling Down to the recitation of the names of women incarcerated for murdering their abusive husbands, as in the case of Manslaughter, the more one listens, the clearer it becomes that music (or sound) operates more as the medium, rather than the purpose of Annah's work…” (for more of this article, see link above)
“Annah is a sound artist with a poet's sentiment. She uses looping, has a hauntingly beautiful voice and talks to her crowd like they are intimate lovers she is taking very gentle care of.”
“Her songs often ruminate on families of origin, how they create patterns and legacies and the ways in which we resist how those legacies inform the ways we are in the world.
Annah's name is testament to her conscious movement through the world and her dealings with these legacies and hand-me down structures of being.”
“Annah's use of the loop pedal is representational as well. The pedal only records live, so the length of the first recording determines the length of all the other tracks she will layer on. This first loop is the origin or homr of her song and it is then layered with other tracks that muddy the original until it almost entirely fades away.”
WEAR YOUR VOICE MAGAZINE
Art in Oakland
Interview w/ Annah Anti-Palindrome
Feminism & Music, Denver CO.
“Annah Anti-Palindrome was so riveting that you didn’t want to leave. She was the kind of performer who is so personally open and who puts so much of herself into the music that it can be off-putting to people uncomfortable with such a level of disclosure from others. But Annah made it seem completely acceptable. You get the sense that there’s probably little difference between her onstage and off stage personality. Even when she talked about her personal politics, although it might have alienated a person or two, there was something engaging about Annah that made you kind of roll with whatever she presented. Her music, meanwhile, made excellent use of loops, and her ability to beat box was respectable, lending the music an interesting percussive quality.
Her songs about her mom, who, apparently, died of a drug overdose, were so crushingly poignant, you felt where she had been with those feelings in a cathartic way. Sampling a blood pressure gauge to create percussive textures and a whisk through an egg with whiskey later on, Annah created unique sounds that can never be completely replicated.
During her set, she passed out notes to the audience and asked us to write down a message to a part of our bodies and most people did. With those, she did a kind of ambient section of a song first and then read through each note. Annah closed the set performing with her friend Rowan — a cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” hitting a reverse on the delay at the end in a playful ending gesture.”
DNA HYMN REVIEWS
“DNA Hymn is a phenomenal work of embrace and exorcism. Using lyrical tricks and linguistic intuition, Annah Anti-Palindrome has mapped a world of survival, finding deep beauty everywhere. A serious literary triumph.”
“In her long-awaited debut collection, DNA Hymn, Annah Anti-Palindrome panned for gold, and she found it: working class, rural-femme survivor gold, unearthed by the brilliant hard femme poetic labor of its creator. This book is an essential weapon in the work we do to defy and transform all of our best and most crucial inheritances. Adaptogen magic bursting out of its mullein, morphine, blood and honey laden soil, hitch-hiking home to a queer land off the map. ”
-Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
“DNA Hymn is a double helix of creation and re-creation, naming the hard price and tender pleasures of inheritance. This book is a gorgeous, rich song of restraints and bonds, attraction and repulsion, and truths that are elemental, in a voice as lovely on the page as it is to the ears.”
(Kissing Dead Girls)
“Every poet teaches us what a poem can be. Annah Anti-Palindrome shows us how all small things are a testament to survival. A stained tooth offers gritty sagacity. A thistle growing in the compost pile foreshadows tremendous change. A stray eyelash makes an overture of longing. Only a deft and daring poet can connect so many incisive details to a much larger narrative of survival. By the end of DNA Hymn, the amassing of small things transforms trauma into undeniable wisdom. For those of you who learn, like I do, through poetry, be thankful for Annah Anti-Palindrome’s lessons.”
(How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler's Memoir)
“Sometimes the act of reading can save you from yourself. Reading Annah Anti-Palindrome's DNA Hymn did just that for me. I began to read with a hope of forgetting, yet arrived at a place of remembering-- a place that can only be found in a book-- on the page and in that space in between. I will always remember her words.”
(Dust and Conscience)
“DNA Hymn does not hesitate: this debut collection is the hard-swallowed keystone in a larger history that is as deeply painful as it is stunning, as much archive as it is mythology, & as entrenched in epigenetics as it is in etymology. Each poem insists on our attention, on our surrender—& we would be fools to turn away from such generosity. Few poets can play with language so deftly & still make us feel the weight of life or death in each word. Let this book saw you open & keep you from inheriting your own hurt.” -Meg Day
(Last Psalm at Sea Level)