New Arrivals

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Here is an interesting album that modestly appeared here in the shop last week without much fanfare. There is no release show scheduled for this disc as yet, still it’s something we’ve enjoyed and think many of you may too. And, as our friend Ben Weaver has often pointed out, the cycle of record release and promotion isn’t always conducive to the creating of lasting art.

Fans of Weaver are likely to enjoy Crow Call’s new disc, as are folks who have enjoyed other like-minded traditional music here in the Twin Cities such as Harry Smith-revivalists Corpse Reviver or Charlie Parr. Ellie Bryan’s first disc, Am I Born to Die, was a promising collection of familiar and forgotten folk songs, distinguished by innovative arrangements that were often arrestingly stark. Twice, for instance, she presents “O Death” (familiar to many as the song Ralph Stanley sang in O Brother Where Art Thou a few years ago), recalling the spirit of Doc Boggs as surely as putting her own imprint on the song’s dark narrative.

In pairing with Peter Ruddy to produce Crow Call, Bryan expands the potential range of her music without cluttering up its shadowy narrative. Ruddy’s role, playing 12-string guitar or bajo quinto (a Mexican guitar-like instrument tuned in forths), adds atmospheric richness similar to Charlie Parr’s recent instrumental album, Hollandale. On their original “Oak Trees” his playing is especially beautiful, pushing the song forward with building intensity.

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“Oak Trees”

Still, s Marcel Marceau once wrote, “it’s the notes you don’t play that make the difference.” There’s a lot more going on in Crow Call’s self-titled debut disc than Bryan’s solo album, but even the fastest tune, the standard “Pretty Polly,” is clean and uncluttered unlike some of the lightning-fast bluegrass that has become widespread.

crow call

Crow Call is most of all remarkable for Ellie Bryan’s confidence, both as a performer on the banjo and as a singer — in this this disc takes giant steps beyond Am I Born to Die, and Bryan ought to any list of local folkies to follow. Her interpretation of “I Wish My Baby Was Born” is one of the best folk songs to appear on a local album so far this year — as a song curiously more often performed by men, Bryan gives the old saw a more convincing recreation than revered figures like Jeff Tweedy (on the third Uncle Tupelo album) or Tim Eriksen, whose recording for the Cold Mountain soundtrack is more along the Appalachian lines of Ralph Stanley than Bryan’s old world version. Its something remarkably like what Corpse Reviver’s Jillian Rae did last year with “Wagoner’s Lad,” a song likely as old as “I Wish My Baby Was Born.”

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“I Wish my Baby was Born”

Bryan has recorded several songs from the two best-selling T Bone Burnett soundtracks we’ve mentioned, but it wouldn’t be fair to suggest Crow Call is in any way derivative of those revival records. The originals on this album imply a wider range of influence, from Black Sabbath to the Cowboy Junkie’s Trinity Sessions album. Their originals are slow, driven and haunting, especially “They Know,” which was the first sample we heard from this disc a while back. Ruddy’s slide guitar is surprisingly bluesy on the closer, “In the Pines,” and the appearance of a guest on harmonica, Patrich Donaghue, is a great choice. There’s a lot of range to Crow Call — it’s often amazing what can be done in the simplest folk tradition, something Jack Klatt reminded us of a couple years ago when he recorded his solo album in the tradition of Dave Von Ronk.

With this debut disc (which you can hear in its entirety here) Crow Call offers a little glimpse into what their collaboration will likely produce — we would like very much to hear more from this duo.

crow call 2

It Friday the 13th but we’re feeling pretty lucky this morning. Wanna know why? Because tonight we get to go to an awesome five-band show at the Hexagon Bar. And it’s not just any ordinary five-band bill at the Hex, the awesome Now People from New York will play, and it’s a “record release show” for Lutheran Heat.

And we’re so lucky today that we already have copies of this great new single in stock. This is a much-anticipated record around here because Lutheran Heat knocks us out every time we’ve heard them, and they’ve even performed here in the shop (told you we were lucky). Everyone here has loved the scattered tracks they have on a bandcamp page (click here), which incidentally have been collected onto a lovely little cassette you’ll find here at your friendly neighborhood record shop. Yep, we’re real lucky.

Lutheran Heat is a little jangly, a little power pop-y, and a whole lot of fun. We love this band for the same reasons we love Mystery Date and Chokecherry — all three bands are crafting catchy, memorable tunes which reflect a lot of passion and energy without falling into the gloomy shoegaze-y rut kids are calling rock and roll these days. Lutheran Heat’s songs are especially singable, and especially air guitar-able too.

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“Shoot into the Sun”

Betcha want to hear the second side now, huh? It’s great. You’ll have to shake your rear down to the Hexagon tonight and catch Lutheran Heat along with four other great bands, and they’ll be glad to sell you a copy. Can’t make it or afraid to go out on Friday the 13th? Come one by this weekend and you can get a copy.

lutheran heat

Our friends at Piñata Records have swapped stock with French label Croque Macadam and are now carrying three awesome titles similar to their retro-fueled power pop, garage-y soul catalog (familiar Hymie’s favorites like Southside Desire, Black Diet, and so on). Their most recent release, the Mystery Date single, is nearly sold out with many copies going oversea! Now you can try out some French pop without all those frustrating overseas shipping expenses.

Here’s our favorite of the Croque Macadam releases, which reminds us of the new Mystery Date record a little — you’d almost think these guys were kids from the “littered alleys of South Minneapolis.” The Piñata crew will be bringing copies here too, so you can also get these awesome French records here at your friendly neighborhood record shop.

 

poor nobodysLast month we posted a couple tracks from this test pressing, courtesy of the Poor Nobodys, whose record release show for Ink no Ink, their third album, is tonight at the Cedar Cultural Center (details here). Shortly after that they performed at our block party, and then headed overseas for an amazing tour of Europe! Here is what we had to say about the album by this extraordinary band that we really admire — we should also add that along with the opening acts the Murder of Crows and Anonymous Choir, we’ll be there spinning some records between the sets.

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“Thousand, Thousand”

If it seems like you’re listening to a movie soundtrack when you hear these songs from Ink no Ink, it’s because the Poor Nobodys have spent much of the past couple years working on film and theater projects, which lends an exciting, dramatic quality to their music. We have written before that their in-store performances here at Hymie’s have been some of the most memorable performances we’ve ever had.

Poor_Nobodys_Capitol_Theater_pic

Although it is a single LP, Ink no Ink has an epic quality, the kind of album you could find yourself getting lost in — we are particularly fond of the quieter passages, where the interplay between instruments you don’t hear together as often in bands around town (cello, banjo, accordion, electric keyboards, and so on) is almost hypnotic. We have listened to it a couple of times here in the shop since they dropped off this copy, and each time people have come up to the counter curious about what they were hearing.

Ink No Ink Art

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“Ink No Ink”

The fact that these two records ended up in the same crate by the time they got here is one of those things that makes this job so interesting.

husbands frustrated housewife

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Selection from Husbands, Love your Wives by Gene Jakubek, S.J.

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“Frustrated Houswife” by Ava Aldridge

“Country music is trauma music, with more booze, drugs and murder than all other pop formats combined. More rubbed-raw emotions. More take-this-job-and-shove-it worker rage, too. For all its alleged reactionary spirit, country-and-western lyrics address the indignities of working life far more than any other pop format. The folk-singing hippies who demonized working white stiffs never copped to the fact that they stole their whole shtick from Woody Guthrie and the coal-mining bards. While the Alternative Nation meows about personal fashion angst, the Appalachian Nation still sings about unemployment.”

- Jim Goad in The Redneck Manifesto

Jim Goad’s Redneck Manifesto is now fifteen years old, but still likely the most shocking, polarizing book about pop culture you’ll read. It will insult you and assault your assumptions, and in exchange you won’t put it down. You might even walk away from the confrontation with — gasp! — an appreciation of country music. Long the lightning rod of elite disdain for working white culture, country music is today as divided as rap was during the East Coast/West Coast wars (though thankfully not as driven to sectarian violence). Hardly represented by, say, the 2013 CMT Awards (where crooner Kenny Rogers seems to have been the sole participant representing an older generation), the big tent of country music ought to include everything from traditionalists and revivalists to the biggest pop stars. It just doesn’t anymore.

Country is the most categorically-dismissed genre in the world of pop music. Trust us, we run a record store and see it all the time. Consider this representative exchange with one of the Twin Cities’ most prominent DJs: Seeing a tall stack of loose 45s on the counter he eagerly began to flip through them. A few inches into what we thought was an awesome collection of uncommon gems (including this Louvin Brothers classic we posted last month) he dismissed the whole pile. “All country?” Pretty much, we told him. “Then don’t waste the sleeves.”

JillianRaeBW950wAll this said, enter Jillian Rae with one of the most satisfying, realized debut releases of the year. On Heartbeat the long-time second-fiddler sounds surprisingly like some of the stars celebrated during “Country Music’s Biggest Night of the Year,” singing through ten tales of heartbreak like she’d recorded them in Nashville — not at all what we expected when she first mentioned recording an album with her new band sometime around the beginning of this busy year. Already in 2013 Rae has lent her voice and violin to the Brian Just Band‘s second disc of lush, 60s-style baroque pop (the effervescent Enlightenment, reviewed here) as well as Corpse Reviver‘s first volume of 20s-era folk and blues covers (which we wrote about here). On that second disc, a favorite around here for in-store play, she belts out Buell Kazee’s 1928 heartbreaker, “Wagoner’s Lad,” with such force that it actually stops folks in their tracks. And just last week Rae was on stage at First Avenue, adding a stunning solo to the Blackberry Brandy Boys‘ cosmic country take on the Replacements’ “Aching to Be.”

There is, to borrow Jack Hawkins’ catchphrase from Bridge on the River Kwai, “always the unexpected.” And we’re happy for the unexpected surprise of Heartbeat‘s successful blend of contemporary country and classic rock. The disc hardly sounds like a debut, given its big and vibrant production (by Matthew DiRose) and Rae’s confidence throughout. Take a listen to “Heartbeat,” which launches the new disc in the high-energy spirit of that combination:

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“Heartbeat”

jillian raeFurther in, there’s tracks like “Chains” and “Don’t Want You Back,” which seems more likely to find a fit on K102′s playlist — nestled somewhere in between Taylor Swift’s “Red” and the latest Keith Urban/Marinda Lambert duet. We’re a little worried, though, that that suggestion is going to cause some of our regular readers to turn up their noses at Heartbeat and miss out on a great album.

K102

The Twin Cities’ biggest country station: You either love it or hate it.

Yep, as much as your average local music fan/record collector around here says they loath “Minnesota’s Country Station,” tons of people don’t agree. Tons of people love it! In fact, K102 has the fourth-largest market share in the Twin Cities, followed by another country station, BUZ’N 102.9 in fifth place.

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“Chains”

Some people just don’t say much about it — Loretta Lynn, who wrote about the same feeling in her 1976 autobiography: “When I’d tell people I was into country music they’d get this look on their faces. People were sort of ashamed of country.” Rae’s bandmate in Corpse Reviver, Mikkel Beckmen, had about the same to say in this interview describing people’s attitudes towards traditional roots music around the time Harry Smith’s Anthology  was released twenty-five years earlier. “It was music people weren’t ashamed of,” explains Beckmen, when talking about the folk and country 78s collecting in Smith’s influential collection.

Heartbeat seems sure to overcome people’s bias — its first singles have already been heard around town on Cities 97 and the Current, and eventually folks will discover “Helpless,” the last track on the album which sounds more like the forgotten rockers on Tom Petty’s Wildflowers (“You Wreck Me,” “Honey Bee”) than anything on the country stations — It’s nice to hear high-energy closer on an album, something not so common these days –and this is a disc that hardly goes out like a lamb! Guitarist Eric Martin co-wrote “Helpless” with Rae (along with another rockin’ track, “Don’t Want You Back”) but they are not the only moments where he gives the album a little bit of rock and roll.

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“Helpless”

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“Don’t Want You Back”

There’s really nothing in Heartbeat that hints at Goad’s Manifesto, or any of the socio-economic baggage that comes along with contextualizing country music — maybe it’s not fair but we’ve been meaning to defend the Taylor Swifts or Marinda Lamberts for a while, even if their music doesn’t sell very well on LP. It makes people happy and some of it’s really good. Besides, we spend a lot of our time over-intellectualizing the records we listen to because that’s what you do in a record store. That and make “top five” lists. Heartbeat should make some local lists, we think — especially if we’re singling out the top female singers in the Cities.

heartbeat backRae’s songs are simple, straight-forward heartbreak stories — the bread & butter of country music. Sometimes the sadness or bitterness in her lyrics is even masked by the big production and her even bigger voice. It’s all a balancing act –”Its funny how something so simple can make or break how you feel,” she sings in one track. “When you’re hanging on the edge of disaster but only two steps from okay.” With one of the softest tracks, “Somebody,” Rae takes a mellower approach that reminds us of another favorite singer from up north, Brenda Weiler (who is sadly retired from music, but now happily running a yoga studio in Fargo). Weiler’s best work was characterized by an arresting vulnerability which sometimes made it feel like she was in the room with the listener. Even in the quietest moments, Rae is larger than life, what you’d expect from a star. The breakups are epic (we feel a little sorry for the hapless loser in “Don’t Want You Back”) and we’ll bet this first disc is just a step towards something much bigger.

 

Jillian Rae’s album release show for Heartbeat is Saturday night at the Cedar Cultural Center (details here). Gallupstar and the Honeydogs will play opening sets. Hope to see you there!

Look what we’ve got here at Hymie’s for a short while — the very last copies of Let it Bleed by the Fuck Knights, which was sold out at the release show a couple years ago and never hit stores here in their hometown! The Italian label Boss Hoss Records put it out, and they were able to snag the few remaining copies while they were touring Europe last month. GD Mills himself carried these copies as his carry-on!

fukn_hymies

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“Primitive”

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“Bind, Torture, Kiss”

We’ve got a half-dozen copies of Let it Bleed, along with plenty of copies of The Wildest Things in the World Volume Two, a four-band split 7″ that puts the Fuck Knights alongside noise-makers from the far corners of the Earth: Wildmen (Rome), Hollywood Sinners (Toledo, Spain) and the Frowning Clouds (Melbourne).

If this wasn’t enough fun news for local garage rock fans we also heard that the local Four Band Freakout compilation — Featuring the Fuck Knights, Narco States, Mary Ellen and the Percolators and Mystery Date — will be out at the end of the month! Got to hear this the other day courtesy of those awesome Narco States fellas, and it’s a rockin’ party in a tiny package!

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“Buried Alive”

Listening back to Starlings, the home-recorded debut EP from Very Small Animal we tagged as a favorite last year (here), it’s unlikely you’d have predicted the direction this band would take. We posted our favorite track, “Golden,” because there’s a moment that caught our ear, reminding us of a similar solo on another song filed way back in the Vs, the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Set Free.” That was about as heavy as Starlings got.

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“Wolf”

But get just a few minutes into Port of Call, Very Small Animal’s new album out this weekend, and you’ll think it was a different band altogether. Well, you would if it weren’t for the unique voices that had distinguished their debut. Tim Harlan-Marks and Patrick Noonan sound better than ever on these twelve new songs, splitting the lead a little more evenly this time around, but now they’re backed by an electrified version of their band courtesy of some cohorts from the Yes! Let’s Collective: Brian Laidlaw (can’t seem to escape that fella around here lately) and Sean Geraty, drummer for Laidlaw’s Family Trade. These first two songs — the first two on Port of Call — give you an idea of the result of their collaborations.

Rather than sounding like their own version of Laidlaw’s ‘road trip’ rock, Very Small Animal reshapes the sound of Starlings into a fun new creature, faster and louder than expected. Maybe Guy Wagner’s vibrant cover art should have tipped us off. We asked Patrick Noonan about the new sound and he said some of their songs started smaller and more intimate, and grew with the larger band, and that others were written as we hear them on the disc. The second track you’re hearing in today’s post, “Wolf,” was written by Harlan-Marks with its “multi-harmony, sort of choral second half” but picked up its driving backbeat after bringing it into practice session with Laidlaw and Geraty. A little bit of their folksy beginnings survive, and a little of bit of 90s alt-country and indie rock creeps in — The combination is really successful.

vsa-port-of-call-front-cover-guy-wagner Nowhere is this more clear than in Harlan-Marks’ “Korea.” This is the disc’s stand-out track, though hardly suited to be its single. It will be the song you put on a mix tape. It’s big but not bombastic, pairing the sound of Uncle Tupelo with the wearier desperation of American Music Club. Harlan-Marks is captivating, though this is one of several tracks on the disc that buries the lead a little too low in the mix. You’ll strain your ear a little to hear him — filled with conviction one moment and, like the Erickson’s Bethany Valentini, faltering in the fade of his voice the next. Laidlaw and Geraty provide the perfect accompaniment.

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“Korea”

Patrick Noonan’s “One Propeller” and “Baptize Me, Andre” have the more familiar sound of singles. Both are great pop tunes. “One Propeller” seems to glide on air, pushed forward by Noonan’s persistent rhythm and given lift from Laidlaw’s lead. It’s simpler and sweeter sentiment is different from his other songs on Port of Call, point in case the tragic “Baptize Me, Andre,” a great story song with an awesome guitar part, although this is one of the songs which Noonan tells us started out smaller and more intimate before they started arranging it with the band.

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“Baptize Me, Andre”

Very Small Animal has expanded its sound but underneath it’s still very much Harlan-Marks and Noonan. Noonan’s really come into his own since Starlings, his rich voice and phrasing are awesomely distinct — Sometimes brooding, as on the first track, “Buried Alive,” and sometimes crooning, as on the endearing title track where he sounds like a warmer Morrissey. Harlan-Marks, who writes and sings more leads than before on Port of Call, shows surprising range on tracks as different as “Wolf” and “Korea.”

Port of Call was recorded at the same (now gone) Albion Studio in Northeast where the White Whales recorded their exception debut, Lakestate, but it lacks the stunning sound of that disc. The raw, almost ad hoc feel of Port of Call is largely beneficial, lending an unexpected cohesion to the varied tracks, but also distracting. It feels like the up-and-down production of Let it Be, and there’s moments where we wish we could hear Harlan-Marks or Noonan better, or where the ground loop buzz is distracting. This also leads to some pleasant surprises, like the appearance of a weirdly psychedelic trombone in “Shutters Setting Free,” which creates a welcome throw-back sound last heard, around these parts anyway, on Panther Ray’s awesome little EP Daily Season.

In our short write-up of Starlings last year we mentioned there’s an intensity to Very Small Animal’s live performances that gets lost on record — You’ll find a better description in this review of their release show for that quiet EP, written by Andrea Swennson for the Current’s local music blog. This all contributes to our assumption that the release show for Port of Call is sure to be something very special indeed.

Very Small Animal will celebrate the release of their first full-length album, Port of Call, at the Icehouse this Saturday. Red Daughters and the one and only DJ Tickle Torture will be joining them. Details here.

 

 

lyricsThere’s a fundamental disagreement here at Hymie’s about whether albums should have the lyrics written out inside the jacket. One of us find it essential, and looks for them as soon as opening an anticipated album. It’s the fastest way to start singing along. The other feels its cheating and would rather listen to an album until the lyrics are memorized, even if it takes a lifetime to figure out what they are.

Either way, there’s something special about learning the lyrics to a favorite album. It’s part of what makes a record collection so comforting because each of your favorites is so much more than a half hour’s entertainment — it’s a welcoming little world with its own language and customs where you can find escape or solace. Whether its Blue when you’re feeling blue or Get Happy!! on a bright day, you can count on them to be the same as always. It’s you who keeps changing.

In a roundabout way this brings up to Sad Face/Glad Face, Pennyroyal’s first album, which took up a residency in our van sometime this spring when it got a CD player. It’s one of those albums you sing along with, even when you haven’t really learned all the words. And try as you may, it’s hard to sing along with Angie Oase, whose accented drawl exudes confidence throughout. In “Wild Iris” she responds to an unexpected breakup with a dismissal (“I won’t fight in your war”) and then there’s “Burn that Fire,” with its awesome guitar line. At one point we’re not sure what the lyric is — or even if its in English — but we love singing along.

And now they’re back, Pennyroyal, the most under-appreciated band working in the Twin Cities right now. Maybe the best. They’ve got a new disc out tomorrow that we’ve already sunk ourselves into for weeks now, and it doesn’t matter that the lyrics are inside the jacket. We know every word.

pennyroyal lp

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“M List”

Just a couple weeks ago we explored our recollections of Lou Reed’s music and even went against his advice (“I only like nostalgia if it’s my own”) to invite Pennyroyal’s Ethan Rutherford to provide a rare guest-written post here on the Hymie’s blog. We included a favorite quote from Lou Reed that has been widely reprinted recently: “One chord is fine. Two chords is pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.” Nobody has the courage to write a song like “Waiting for the Man” anymore but Pennyroyal comes close with “M List,” the high-energy opening track on their second album, Baby I’m Against It.

“M List” is all drive and fervor, but a little larger than the “one chord” song prescribed by Reed. Oase and Rutherford dual harmonicas along the lines of “NOLA (Monday Tuesday),” the standout track from last year’s Places EP which was also on a here-and-gone 7″ single. Opening with “M List” provides more than a indication of the bigger sound the band has created with producer/engineer Ed Ackerson — it feels like a declaration that the album is going to go to places unimagined on Places, the thematic EP we picked as our favorite release of 2012. This new album succeeds because of the surprisingly uncommon marriage of a good story and the means to properly express it.

Nothing in the following eleven tracks returns to the proto-punk feeling of “M List,” but the robust drum sound introduced in its first moments holds the album together as Oase and Rutherford seem to pull it in a different direction with each track. It’s one of the best features of Ackerson’s Flowers Studio. And we can’t think of a better drummer to record there than Pennyroyal’s Jake Mohan, who doesn’t waste a moment or a motion throughout Baby I’m Against It. He seems to work intuitively with bassist William Hoben, whether its the crashing conclusion to “Official Statement” that hints at their explosive, instrumental metal band, Wizard Fight, or the irresistible groove on “Record Machine” that we expect you’ll be hearing on the Current any day now.

Baby I’m Against It does seem “quadrophenic,” if we can imagine that to be a real thing. The album opens with a nod to the Velvets but moves just as easily into the disco side of new wave with “Go Quiet” and “Record Machine” before offering a raucous double-time honky tonk on “Pennyroyal.”

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“Record Machine”

What’s wholly remarkable about the album are the moments you can’t tag with a familiar reference. Pennyroyal’s more confident here than on Sad Face/Glad Face and Places, transcending genres by owning them — that is, “Go Quiet” and “Record Machine” are less new wave than they are Pennyroyal-does-new-wave, and where they touch on VU minimalism or twangy roots it’s on their own terms. This control is really owed to the rhythm section, who lend confidence to songs which are often, ironically, about the search for security, whether in a dead end job or a dead relationship.

Two mid-tempo ballads on that last theme round out the first face of the album on the tender side without touching on vulnerability, first asking if “you really mean it when you look into your heart –”

My heart is heavy
Knows what it can carry, but you –
I don’t think you mean it this time
I’m done with you

– before moving on with the more concise declaration that “the last I had of you is gone.” The two tracks might be handily compared to the Pretenders if Tanya Tucker had taken the lead on Learning to Crawl, or they might be further indication that this is a group that has carved out its own distinctive sound. Hoben and Mohan, having provided a “Lust for Life” drive on “M List” and a joyful dance groove on “Record Machine,” back the second of these tracks with a sensitivity more in line with a nightclub act.

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“Last I Had”

Ethan Rutherford’s appearance at the beginning of the second side is jarring. He’s laid out more on this album than on last year’s EP, but made up his reduced role with intensity. Very much like Lou Reed’s deadpan delivery, Rutherford’s is capable of a remarkable emotional range. “Dallas” also introduces something else stunning: a piano, heretofore only heard on the alternate version of “NOLA” tacked on the end of Place. It gives “Dallas” a deeper and darker feeling than Rutherford’s compelling “Captain” on Sad Face/Glad Face while capturing the same sense of the epic in the midst of small world stories. Rutherford returns to the piano for the title track at the end of the album, leaving us with a strange and uncertain sense of dread.

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“Dallas”

Different sounds give the second side a different feeling. Starting with the searing solo on “Dallas” there’s more guitar, including a great sound to both lead and rhythm on “Broken Wheel.” There’s even an quiet electronic loop underneath “An Official Statement,” a remake of Sad Face/Glad Face‘s “Heroin.” All of it, even the straightforward pop tune “Broken Wheel” (probably the most conventional song they’ve ever recorded) follows the form of the first side — defying the constraints of familiar genre boundaries to carve out that distinct sound. The two recordings of “Heroin” capture just how successfully the band has done that.

Few bands survive “second album syndrome” as successfully as Pennyroyal has. Baby I’m Against It is as near a perfect album as we’re going to get this year, folks. The second side may stumble from the smooth pacing of the first, but we admit we can’t find another way to sequence the album’s twelve indispensable tracks. Some songs are rounded out by lyrical repetition (Consider another controversial Lou Reed quote: “I don’t mind a repetitive chorus; I mind repetitive verse. I mean, it’s the same amount of space.”) but maybe brevity is best. Even “Record Machine,” in all its awesomeness, leaves us wanting just a little more. These are all little things, the sort of flaws that make an album its own special world you can get lost in for a half hour. This is undeniably the best new album a band has brought into the shop this year.

Pennyroyal’s album release show for Baby I’m Against It is tomorrow night at Icehouse. Singer-songwriter Scott Laurent is returning to Minneapolis to perform an opening set. $10, 9:30pm. Details here.

 

November has been a busy month for those creative folks from the Yes! Let’s Collective. Earlier this month Brian Laidlaw released his second disc of the year (you can read our review here), and also brought his band, the Family Trade, to an early evening show as part of the Republic Bar’s new Thursday night Americana series.

Other Yes! Let‘s-ers have been busy too. Oak Ribbons just released their CD after two years of writing (and a weekend of recording) last week with a show at the Bryant Lake Bowl, and at the end of this month Very Small Animal will release a much anticipated second disc that better captures the fuller, folk-rock sound they’ve developed. Hymie’s is proud to be a sponsor of their November 30th CD release show at the Icehouse (details on the Facebook here).

We’re also proud to welcome Brian Laidlaw and Oak Ribbons back to the shop for a performance tomorrow afternoon. Below you can hear certain though I am no garden, the debut disc by Oak Ribbons, who describe themselves as “like your kitchen appliances subtly humming a major chord as you drink your first cup of coffee in the morning.” There’s more than passive energy to the driving dual fiddles that propel “Ghost of Champagne” or the steady building confidence (certainty?) of “Have & Being.” We expect to hear more from this trio than these five songs, since they have described it as coming after “one baby and one hundred songs.” We’d certainly enjoy more along the lines of their lovely “Midnight Prayer.” It seems fitting that the quietest moments on this discs should be the most compelling.

Just a couple weeks ago we described Laidlaw’s new disc, Echolalia, as a “welcoming warm listen for a bitter cold, damn Monday morning,” and if you look a little further back you’ll find this review of Whiskey with Goliath, a six-track disc featuring his backing group, the Family Trade. Its no secret we’re big fans.

Brian Laidlaw and Oak Ribbons will each perform songs from their new EPs tomorrow afternoon here at Hymie’s, starting around 3pm. As with all performances here in the shop it is a free and all-ages event.

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