Ezra Furman/Daniel Romano
Ezra Furman: The Year of No Returning (Bar/None)
Rather than lyrics, the text accompanying this solo debut features a lengthy statement of principle: the Chicago folk-rocker (sorry, but that brutal shorthand reveals more than the one-sheet's "dark chamber pop, tough-guy garage rock and sad, gorgeous balladry") aims for "real protest" against our "globally pervasive culture." Or as Furman puts it in "American Soil": "I'm a Jew through and through and I'm about to write you a Bible." Fortunately, he sets his sacrilegious writ to muscular melodies that get more fetching as they speed up, accompanied by his admittedly garageish guitar and musicians admittedly more chamber-pop than were his helpers in the Harpoons. Taken by the style of anxiety built into a voice that rises in pitch as a matter of well-calibrated habit, I wish I could report that it sang of global contradiction more and romantic frustration less. But for now it's global enough. Furman is right to believe that too few of his cohort risk this kind of pretension, a/k/a the good kind. A MINUS
Daniel Romano: Come Cry With Me (Normaltown)
Displaced Canadian "middle child" cultivates honky-tonk misery so extreme it dallies with the absurd‑-misery that all began when his mama sent him away and kept his sister and brother. In a voice that's sometimes so deep it serves as its own mournful echo chamber, he counts pillows, balances obligations, takes on an acting job to keep his ex guessing, detaches his heart from his chest, and declines to reveal the true story of Chicken Bill, leaving us wondering whether it's Bill or Daniel who fools around with the gender instability of "When I Was Abroad." B PLUS
Bob has more or less done the job for Peter Stampfel. What about Michael Hurley? Them pool balls go clickety-clack.
Here is the full article on Romano is anyone is interested
Slim Whitman was who first came to mind - when I saw the Romano album cover. I'm streaming it now and enjoying it more than I thought I would. Of course, I'm a sucker for pedal steel and slow, sad country songs. In fact, I think I'll segue to the recent George Jones compilation of his best Musicor recordings, The Great Lost Hits (Time Life 2010), as soon as Romano's over. Then I'll slap on the Rolling Stones' Emotional Rescue which sounds fantastic and stronger than it did in 1980.
Edit: BTW, he reminds me more of Slim Whitman than of Gram Parsons. Too often Parsons is just shorthand for "outsider singing country music."
So I finally got to the Daniel Romano CD and, well it's just OK. Trying too hard to be traditional and kinda lacking in the soulful department. At time s he sounds 27 going on 67. Witness these quotes pulled from a recent interview
'The difference between Taylor Swift and what I do is like the difference between The Bourne Identity and Hud: It’s too slow, too black-and-white, too much dialogue. They’re like, ‘When’s someone going to shoot someone in the face?
"The type of country that I like doesn’t exist any more. I’m not trying to save it, but in the back of my mind, I know it’s what country needs,” says Romano, who produces his own albums and plays nearly every instrument on his records. “What doesn’t make sense is why the songwriting is so bad. The production I can get past — it’s cheesy and stupid, but if the songs were good, it wouldn’t matter. Instead, the music has gone down the drain'
Somebody get this sad sack a Pistol Annies CD ASAP.
Great news that Columbia/Legacy will release Bootleg Series boxes on Blonde on Blonde and the Basement Tapes. Just hope they don't wait decades to do it. And that reminds me....Neil? Archives Volume 2? How about a single disc featuring the Catalyst Club 1984 show similar to the Fillmore East 1970 reissue??
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
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