Once you ‘discover’ a new (to you) artist, you often find yourself quickly working your way back through their output – purchasing previous releases, scouring youtube for interesting videos, discovering little factoids about the artist, and generally connecting the dots. After hearing the lead single from Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, “Map of Tasmania” (the dance song about pubic hair) I went on a such a quest. Oh, this is the woman from the Dresden Dolls? Are her eyebrows tattooed on? Did she really just marry Neil-freaking-Gaiman?! I gleefully skipped over Amanda’s EP of ukelele Radiohead covers and headed for her 2008 release Who Killed Amanda Palmer. That album is so phenomenal it took a few weeks to circle back to Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, the album at hand.
Apparently Palmer spends a fair bit of time touring Australia and New Zealand, and this (mostly) live album is her ode to those lands so far away from her home base in the States. Because of the intentions of the album, it’s obvious there are certain groups of fans who will most immediately latch on to Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, especially songs like the simply titled “Australia”, “Vegemite (the black death)”, “New Zealand” and “We’re Happy Little Vegemites”. For the most part, these tracks are sing or laugh along crowd pleasers that may not completely resonate with listeners in other environs.
“Map of Tasmania” might be the tune that draws others in, particularly those not previously familiar with Amanda Palmer’s music, simply because it’s so much fun. The lyrics may turn off some, and I imagine those are exactly the folks who wouldn’t ‘get’ Palmer anyway. “Bad Wine and Lemon Cake” – a song written and performed by The Jane Austen Argument, on which Amanda sings – is an excellent addition to the album. The song is superbly pretty, and it’s easy to imagine the rapt audience present during the performance at the Adelaide Fringe Festival where it was recorded.
Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under is, simply, a lot of fun. Some of that fun might most appeal to the countries it’s directed at, but those feeling no particular kinship to Australia or New Zealand will still find Amanda’s quirkiness endearing. That, and there’s just a damn fine amount of music to be had here! Though I find myself drawn to certain tracks more than others, this could easily be something that won’t get in the way for other listeners. Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under is still an album I highly recommend. And, because Amanda sells her own music via amandapalmer.net, you can have a digital download of this release for $0.69 or more.