A map to Duarte, California might as well be a map to another dimension where regrets and grievances live. Perhaps Duarte has something similar to the hum in Taos where it drives some people crazy, or in this case, causes them to hold court with their demons. With Les Bohem’s Moved To Duarte, we find him moving in and out of a mosaic of motifs and life experiences which only he seems capable of mastering. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about gastropubs ever since I got fired from one just a little over a week ago.
I’ve always had this fascination with that scene. Stuffed with tatted-beardos who wouldn’t be as fascinating otherwise, put a beardless untatted comedian next to a tatted, unfunny-beardo and see which one gets more laughs.
It’s edgy grown up stuff, recreating the last half of the nineteenth century. Craft beers and whiskey, right?
The Liquorsmiths are also craftsmen with the release of their very like-able EP, This Book Belongs To, like tree lights on a ceiling of a non-smoking alehouse with a hue that’s always inviting when you turn them on.
That’s what this is like through and through, starting with The Wallflowers/Counting Crows-like warmth of their opening track, Coy With Me, I care less for what IPAs due to the lining of my esophagus, I want one now goddammit!
That’s starting off easy, cause there’s a bend in the note that has a saloon piano-like quality to it, which is a good way to start.
Drew Thams doesn’t need to do much, the music is already a backdrop for his voice and it fits in perfectly.
Get Well Soon picks up with more excitement, a folk-rock song where he accents his delivery, weaving in and out of the arrangements before slamming the breaks before I’m done with my IPA, I’m already ordering whiskey.
I don’t think these dudes have a problem with the Wallflowers comparison, I’m sure they’re into it. Hey, I’m thinking about getting into them for once after all these years but, I’ll also add that they remind me of… ready for this, a low energy Grant Lee Buffalo who have more of a flare for the dramatic, no doubt because of Phillips.
At least a few of these guys were bartenders so this whole thing makes sense with playing it pretty easy.
My favorite is Iris’s Song because it works on so many levels while it’s still a pop song, a good example of what they can do as a band but then when we get to Thief, after the interesting opening, they seem to leave Thams looking for a place to land his harmony, while everyone else scrambles for the melody. Well, not really scrambling since these guys go at their own pace.
Devil I Do is quirky and cute, a little organ and the whimsical strum of the guitar doesn’t build much anticipation for the listener, that’s left up to Thams again.
Look, how much kneading of dough does one need to do to make artisan bread? I don’t know anything about crafting anything! All I know is that the well whiskey is good enough for me, which is probably why I don’t last at those bars.
Actually, it’s probably more because I don’t have tats or can’t grow a beard.
Alright, enough about me, I’ve never had that brand of Rye whiskey which I intend to sip on as Day By Day plays me out on this EP.
Again, the Liquorsmiths have a carefree attitude with that one because after a few in me, I’m singing along with everyone else at the end of it, toasting the band as they drift to the end and I figure out the repercussions of walking my tab.
What, me jealous of tatted-beardos? No way man! Not since Louis C.K. made it clear that we spend the majority of eternity not being here, or maybe that’s just another way to say, “yes I am!” I mean, maybe that’s how a person gets an elite job and become an accepted member of society?
By the way, walking that tab doesn’t mean that’s all there is to hear from these guys. Actually, if you get their Google play/BandCamp version of this album, you’ll find that it has five additional tracks on it of unreleased acoustic songs like Blank Page which makes me wonder if these songs would sound better without the rest of the band.
Well, they’re two different dynamics which make the entire EP experience a hell of a whole lot better for me. I don’t feel too bad cutting that corner and out of sight of a bartender who might be looking for me.
These guys aren’t out there to blow minds. They’re out there swooning the service industry crowd. You know, those people who are sick of underaged, sick of the timid, they’re sick of amateur hour.
This is music for the overwhelmed, the one’s who toil over beer kegs and beer mats. It’s an easy order, something that doesn’t put people in the weeds. Alright, so while I’m scouting for other bars I can look like I’m not a part of, check them out on:
Revealing Yet Elusive
I’m fascinated with Brooklyn cause I’ve never been. Yes, I’m that guy. How long am I gonna tread water before I make the push up North? I know, I’m being impatient. I’ll make it up there one of these days. But let’s get real here.
I haven’t had that many relationships in my life and I’ve failed miserably with the ones I’ve had. Being candid about that shit is a load off but I’m not usually that straightforward about it with people, so regret tends to build up. But I’m also a bit of a dick so I don’t dwell on it.
Some days it weighs heavy and most days it doesn’t. Of course the further I get away from it the lighter the weight becomes with time.
“What the fuck are you talking about,” you ask?
I’m talking about Rue Snider’s super-honest album Alone Again Relax. When I heard this guy would be touring through from Brooklyn, I tuned in and discovered a songwriter who’s not afraid to wallow in the darkness and write about it.
Sure it’s not uncommon for singer/songwriters to go there but this guy is punk, baby! He’s got an edge that puts things in a straightforward and specifically sharp way, that sends the occasional shiver up and down my spine bones.
That’s why there’s a lot of range to uncover on this album that isn’t just rage specific. Anyone who’s had a successful relationship can appreciate the construction of the well-placed hooks and melodies all over this thing. Snider’s film-making chops is also important in having influence with the stories he tells.
While Rue gets ready to travel, I figured this would be a good time to find out what this dude is all about.
The Bottle With Me And Snider Makes Three
Zoe Dune: I love whiskey so much that I don’t have a preference. It’s like maple syrup to me, I feel like a fucking bear every time I’m near it, so I can totally relate when you applied “whiskey cry” as a genre or style for your music. Tell me that is or was a scene somewhere?
Rue Snider: Maple syrup, huh? Are you implying you put it on pancakes and toast? I love whiskey too although I try to limit how much of it I consume these days. I’m pretty crazy about Few Rye and Templeton Rye. They’re both out of the Chicago area I think. I drink bourbon most of the time though if I’m drinking whiskey. Usually something cheap but passable. Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, even Evan Williams. Bars in Brooklyn have dozens of whiskeys. Nobody drinks anything clear here. It’s strange.
Rue Snider: Ha! So you at least made it to the chorus of the first track. Yeah, the record has a theme. Here’s the thing Zoe, there wasn’t any regret on my part. I don’t think anyone should ever regret loving someone even though your time together will inevitably come to an end. I mean everything dies. I wrote the record in order to avoid pouring whiskey on my pancakes, to continue with your idea.
Rue Snider: You know at the end of the first Nightmare on Elm Street when Nancy realizes that all she has to do is stop being afraid of Freddy and he won’t have power over her anymore? It’s kinda like that. But then in the next scene Johnny Depp’s convertible turns into Freddy sorta and they all drive off into, I don’t know what. and then her mom gets sucked into that tiny window in the front door. never understood that last scene.
– Rue Snider will be Live@BryanStreetTavern on Oct. 31st.
Anderl, Timothy. “GHETTOBLASTER.” Ghettoblaster Magazine. GhettoBlaster Magazine, 3 Feb. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2014. <http://ghettoblastermagazine.com/2014/from-the-horses-mouth-rue-snider-rue-snider-and-no-strand-on-alone-again-relax/>.