As Jeffrey is coming to Fairbanks soon and I have been listening to his album constantly, I thought I’d post a review. More drawings are coming soon. Thank you for the comments and in advance for coming to see me play live!
June 25th at the Fairbanks downtown market with Sabe and Luke. (free)
and June 30th opening for Jeffrey Lewis at Wall of Balloons. (donations may be accepted, but I think that it is free- this is more like a comic convention/celebration than a rock show)
more info at http://www.wallofbaloons.com, also appearing Christopher Green and Jamie Smith.
July 4th hosting Open mic at the Marlin. (free)
Packed full with brilliant observations, the title comes from the song “To Go and Return” in which Jeff makes the charmingly insightful observation that our lives are wishes come true from previous generations, which took many years to reach the star who would grant it, and then many years to come back.
Jeff is confiding in us his secrets and imparting us with wisdom. Any adventurous spirit will find many lines that resonate, suc has this one: “I’ve got too much confidence to only do things that make sense” in Water Leaking Water Moving.
In “When You’re By Yourself”- he describes perfectly the experience of being alone at a restaurant, how you have to take your pack with you when you go to the bathroom, how you fear that the waitress will think you’re done with your food before and waste some of your precious calories! Songs like this one remind me of my travels and unique experiences. “How can Jeff have had the same thought?”
Throughout the album are guest musicians which lend their talents. “To Go and Return” has some saxophone noodling, and mandolin by Franic Rozycki. “Reaching ” has female vocals, and “How Can it Be” has members of Dr. Dog singing back up vocals. That song is the shortest and catchiest song on here, it seems like a part two to a previous song, “Broken Broken Heart.”
“So What If I Couldn’t Take It” has numerous laugh out loud moments. Including a scene where homeless critics rate Jeffrey’s suicide attempt, and disappointingly lower their scores when they see that he survived. He also makes a jibe at Pitchfork, the music criticism site.
The best of these songs may be “Time Trades.” This is the kind of song that may make you cry, or upon listening instantly call up an old friend or family member you love and insist they “listen to this song right now! “That’s what I did for my dad.
Compare solos in “Cult Boyfriend” or the elaborate fingerpicking on any of these tracks to his earlier work and you’ll see how far Jeff has come. His voice may take some getting used to, but we got used to Alec Ounsworth, and Bob Dylan. Any fan of They might be Giants, Todd Snyder, Kimya Dawson, or Jeff’s own inspiration The Fuggs, would do well to give this, his gentlest and most colorful album a listen.
Avery Wolves (Fairbanks, Ak)
Wreckin With the Wolves.
Recorded at Northern Lights Mortuary (not the name of a studio, an actual mortuary… don’t ask) with Nathan as the Engineer.
Mixed by Nick Forkel
Nathan Harris – Upright Bass/ Vocals
Jason Dahlke – Drums
David Keller – Guitar
Fairbanks’ Avery Wolves released their six song EP this spring and it doesn’t disappoint. The vintage art from Shawn Tickenson is fun and fits the music well.
“Harlot of the Waning Moon” features fantastic back up vocals. The bass is up front and center in these recordings, as it should be in psychobilly.
“Lady Luck” has a perky bounce to it and the morbid joke, “its all fun and games until somebody dies.” These recordings are polished and clean. There seems to be no clipping and the guitars distortion is turned down. You might expect more chaotic punk madness if you’ve seen the live show. Live, the solos are longer, the tempos are faster, and you get to watch Nathan’s goofy stage antics, climbing on his bass, playing it with his feet, tossing it around like a swing dance partner, etc. These songs aren’t contributing much new to the genre, but they are accessible, squeaky clean and all are catchy enough to make you sing along. To some, this kind of music is vintage and nostalgic, to a new generation, it means something completely different.
I asked Nathan who writes the songs. He said he writes about 40% of the lyrics, and Jason writes the other 60%. I asked what non music elements influence his songwriting and he said “violence!”