Tuesday, May 12, 2009

things things things

i'm tired. pretty much all the time, now. i'm constantly torn between all the things i need to do and the things i want to do.

i need to
really start looking for a job in chicago
keep up with my schoolwork
stay motivated with the punkbands.com redesign
edit the video interviews i have
move out of my apartment
take care of my fucking taxes

i want to
get back to writing and my music
record the split 7" with Christian i've been talking about forever
go to philly more often for shows
curl up and sleep for a week
update this blog more often
not always worry
spend time with barb

i wonder if it'll all be a wash or if i am working in the right direction...and to think i won't really know for two years. i've hit a ceiling at the library; the demographic just isn't what i want. the midwest needs me back and then i can pick up on faint whispers from the west coast. i'll get there...like i said, within two years.

so yeah, we're completely redesigning http://www.punkbands.com/. Paul is helping me and he's doing a stellar job, but there's so much to do and most of my contributions involve slogging through the archives and cleaning shit up. this is literally the most mind-numbing thing i have ever done. i have written a few reviews though! here's one:

It took a while, but I finally heard Drag the River...and I like it. Bad at Breaking Up gathers together all the various tracks the band contributed to 7"s, splits and comps as well as some b-sides. From the sound of it (and having since heard some other stuff by them) I would say this is an excellent introduction to the band and, considering the fantastic packaging that accompanies the album, well worth the investment.

There are a few major selling points here; the acoustic and clean electric guitars are fantastic complements, the duel vocal approach courtesy of Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price, and all the references to drinking. These guys keep the instrumentation sparse and let their clean, deeply twanged (is that a word?) voices do all the talking. Some of the tunes remind me of Mike Cooley's acoustic songs for Drive-By Truckers, just a bit higher pitched. Some remind me of Limbeck's older records, where the emphasis was less on arrangement and more on immediacy. And there is definitely a large dose of The Replacements here, and maybe even a bit more of Paul Westerberg's solo output; I can definitely hear the Stereo influence. Regardless, it's a great mix of sounds spread out across a great collection.

If I had to pick some favorites, opener "Having a Party" would definitely be one of them. I always loved the swaying r&b sound of the original, but this version, sung by both guys, gives the song a whole new feel; the DIY nature of Drag the River makes the song sound almost like a plea for the DJ not to just keep playing music, but to play some quality music...any kind of quality music. With the awful state of radio in this country, I couldn't agree more. Another gem would have to be "Beautiful & Damned," which is certainly a bit of a risk. Featuring solo vocals accompanied by only a swirling, distorted pedal steel guitar, it's a beautiful side-step to the rest of the album and I have a hard time not jumping right to it when I put Bad at Breaking Up on.

I don't feel like it's fair to judge collections by normal, album standards. Instead, I'm interested in how well the release flows and if it accomplishes the idea of introducing someone to a new artist. Bad at Breaking Up does both of these things well and though it may start to sound a bit alike towards the end, there is no denying the excellent songwriting and delivery by these alt-country troubadours.

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