Friday, September 28, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
flash video. * * * * * The Bears started recording songs for their third album, Car Caught Fire, a mere four years ago (there's nothing like not having a record deal to allow one the luxury of time). It's not likely they'll remain without a label for long. After all, The Bears is composed of such longtime cult mainstays as Chris Arduser, Rob Fetters, Bob Nyswonger, and Adrian Belew, representing bands like Psychodots, The Raisins, and King Crimson. Fear not, fearless musical listener, this is not a Belew side project for here he blends effortlessly into a member of the band. Indeed, the song writing duties are split almost metrically with each member getting an even share. Even the drummer gets two songs in, and these aren't Ringo songs either. The .002% of the readers familiar with the two earlier Bears projects will be pleased to hear that The Bears have continued their practice of filling an album with well-crafted pop/rock songs. "Life In A Nutshell" opens the album with an acid-tinged Mersey Beat, a song that would have fit on Belew's Inner Revolution album. "Caveman" is the oldest song on the album (a ripe eight years) but full of ratty, distorted guitar and a primal rock beat. In the touching "Dave" Fetters sings about when he was fourteen and his best friend committed suicide- touching without being saccharine. The only song written by all The Bears is "Waiting Room" which has a very odd vocal effect on the verses, a cheesy organ, and the great lyric "I've put a lot of pavement on my shoes / Made a lot of payments on my dues." "As You Are" feels much like vintage Elvis Costello, albeit with seven guitars stacked high, and "Safe In Hell" finds the singer humorously "free from [his] creditors." My favorite track, and indeed the one that prompted me to buy the album, is Belew's "Mr. Bonapart", an odd counterpoint to "I Am The Walrus" with a staccato guitar rhythm and an eerie refrain of "I live in my lonely mind" woven throughout. You can hear this song, order, the album, and see a disturbing flashtoon video of this song at www.thebearsmusic.com. Despite this blinding bright spot, the album suffers a bit from inconsistency. Perhaps it's due to the variety of singers and writing styles (although all of the styles are derived from The Beatles and all the songs are full of catchy melodies) but you finish the album feeling that as good as it is, it could have been better. Were I a tenured third grade teacher named "Velma", I'd give this album a B+. Fortunately, my secret life has yet to be discovered so I'll just say it's a really good album of 60's-derived pop songs. This review first appeared in WhatzUp, October 2001.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
While looking at a giant "know your employment rights" poster put up in our breakroom I realized that I am one of the very few employees not in a protected status. I am not female. I am not no distinguishable ethnicity/race. I am not even under thirty or over fifty-five so I can't count on agism for protection. Nope, I'm just a 41 year old white male who has to rely on himself.
here. Originally meant to be a calling card to get his foot in the door as a song-salesman in Nashvegas, or so I've heard. I've also heard that "Pie Hole" is about the (now former) wife of one his many band members. * * * * * In his first acoustic album the prolific doppelganger Terry Scott Taylor has tackled the singer/songwriter genre and pegged it perfectly. The music on Avocado Faultline is a blend of pop, rock, country, and Americana folk-song story telling music. Taylor has taken the laid-back, relaxed vocal style of Don Williams, mixed in Jimmy Buffet's playful sense of melody and combined it with his own keen observations of the human condition. While I am normally quickly bored by this genre, Taylor manages to add enough musical twists and wry humor to bring me back, with each listen endearing these comfortable songs more. With as much truth as humor, Taylor lambastes the Yoko Ono phenomenon in "Pie Hole" writing such great lines as "She thinks we'll consider her just one of us/ If she drinks like a sailor and knows how to cuss" and "I like restaurants or parties with mixed company / But there's times I like hanging out with must my buddies and me." While most of the album is very relaxed, "Built Her Like a Cloud" kicks things up with a great country-rock feel that would have been right at home on a Lost Dogs album, one of Terry Taylor's many side-bands. The eerie "With What I Should Have Said" is shockingly mid-90s Bob Dylan with comparisons to his Oh Mercy album inevitable. "Startin' Monday" is full of gentle humor as a kind of flip side to "Margueritaville" with Taylor taking the view of someone who's spent his life screwing around and ready to change... starting Monday. One of my favorite songs is where Taylor sings "You're a little long in the tooth, babe / Me, I'm puffy and under the weather / But the drunker I get... / Honey, you're looking better" and "Pretend I'm Elvis for just one night / I will call you Pricilla, if that's alright / Don't we look sorta like 'em / In the neon light? / Let's pretend I'm Elvis, darlin' / For just one night." Three guesses as to the name of the song. With its many charms, Avocado Faultline should bring this talented artist a whole new audience. The album is highlighted by heartfelt lyrics and songs that mix intelligent artistic expression, gentle humor and commercial accessibility. This is Americana at it's best! If you can't find this album locally, go to www.silentplanetrecords.com This review first appeared in WhatzUp, August 2000.