Traditional folk tunes get a psychedelic dirge reimagining

If you'd like to hear an absolute bummer of a cautionary tale, sung slow and steady by a world class vocalist, give "Cruel Mother" a listen. ØXN is the project of Eleanor Myler, Katie Kim and Lankum's own John "Spud" Murphy and Radie Peat. Some folk music is for and about drinking, dancing and making merry. Some of it is about murdering your illegitimate children and afterwards burning in hell forever.

Usually, you can't dance with mirth to that topic and this rendition of "Cruel Mother" is no exception, although it does go into a gothic psychedelic prog-y breakdown unusual for traditional folk music. Surprisingly, also, there's no fiddle. But maybe this isn't exactly folk music, it's something else entirely.

Lyrically, it's a traditional ballad, likely a warning to women not to have extramarital affairs, children out of wedlock, etc. Ah, the good ole days where it was always the woman's fault. At first listen, I was upset by the patriarchal angle that the story took, but upon the 3rd, 4th, 17th listen (this week alone), I've come to think that ØXN's stylization makes the ballad a beleaguered woman's lament. If you lock yourself in a dungeon with no windows and listen to this on repeat like I have, maybe you'll agree with me. Or you'll just start to feel unwell and crave vitamin D. Jury's out.

Please prove me wrong about not being able to dance to songs about infanticide at

Previously: Listen to this beautiful drone folk dirge from Lankum