Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: Maynard and the Musties – So Many Funerals

Nouveau outlaw country songwriter and Nashville expat Joe Maynard does double duty as a rare book dealer, hence the tongue-in-cheek band name. On this cd – his first with this particular crew – he comes across as sort of a hybrid of Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits and David Allan Coe. Maynard built a reputation for gut-bustingly funny songs with his previous bands, the upbeat Illbillies and then the more traditionally oriented Millerite Redeemers. On this cd, he’s as surreal as always but considerably more somber, and the jokes are darker as well. Musically, it rocks pretty hard in places: Ryan Adams’ production is terse and imaginative on both the upbeat stuff and the quieter numbers. The album’s best song, Elvis Museum is a prime example, Adams’ piano quiet and determined over a swaying backbeat, and it’s a genuine classic. It’s quintessential Maynard: the museum in question turns out to be a pretty pathetic excuse for one, the King’s portrait between “a sinkful of dishes and a toilet stall,” but this offhandedly savage satire of celebrity worship still manages to be sympathetic. Likewise, the opening track, Pine Box, a body in a coffin taking a sarcastic view of the preacher and the pageantry outside. After a gentle, rustic beginning lit up with some vivid violin from Naa Koshie Mills (also of the Disclaimers, and the musical star of the album), lead guitarist Mo Botton rips out a nasty garage rock solo.

Maynard hails from Brooklyn these days and uses that milieu for several of the songs, including the surreal Cowboys of St. Bartholomew – about a gay street couple – and the deadpan, reverb-drenched Rocky and Bessie, an ominously bizarre tale of a couple of stray dogs in Fort Greene. He also sets the poem Shallow Water Warning – a drowning recalled by the victim – by legendary outsider poet Helen Adam to a swaying Tex-Mex-inflected tune. Otherwise, the titular redneck girl of the big bluesy raveup isn’t exactly what she seems, the drugs bid a fond farewell to the body they ravaged in the lullaby Dear Addict, and the rest of the world hides and surfs the web while the world burns – literally – on the Velvets-esque apocalypse anthem It’s Been a Great Life, Botton adding some aptly furious Sterling Morrison chord-chopping on the outro. The cd closes with a heartfelt tribute to Maynard’s lapsteel player and flatmate, the late, great Drew Glackin (also of Tandy, the Jack Grace Band, Silos and numerous other A-list Americana bands). The whole thing is a richly lyrical, fearlessly good time, darkness notwithstanding. The band is also impressively good live. Maynard and the Musties play Sidewalk on Dec 4 at 8 PM.

Advertisements

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 1/12/09

Every Tuesday here we have our own quarter-sized version of what Kasey Kasem used to do on Sundays back in the day. Each of the links below correspond to the songs on our little hit parade. It’s designed as something that with a few clicks of a mouse will keep you entertained through your lunch hour if you’re at a desk job, or late at night if you’re bored.

 

1.  Maynard & the Musties – Elvis Museum

Frontman Joe Maynard’s ostensibly true story about one obsessed woman’s tribute to the King, with subtly sly commentary on the culture of celebrity. Producer Ryan Adams on piano and lapsteel.

 

2.   Max Raabe – Oops I Did It Again

German retro cabaret crooner covering Britney Spears. Words cannot describe.

 

3.  Kerry Kennedy’s Ghostwise – More from the Mountain

Gothic Americana like the Walkabouts. Eerie and irresistible. They play Rose Bar on 1/21.

 

4.  Heather Nova – Talking to Strangers

Long and hypnotic with haunting strings and Nova’s trademark wail. Streaming at her site.

 

5. The Naturals – Missus Sinclair

Super catchy 60s flavored dark guitar pop from North Carolina. Check it out. 

 

6. The Slackers – Dreidel Dub

A little late for the holiday, this amusing ska instrumental is ultimately a good excuse for a characteristically ripping Glenn Pine trombone solo. Thanks to Jacob of Across the Aisle for the heads-up on this – it’s a new single w/a dub remix as the b-side.

 

7. Close2death – Memory

An artsy, ornate, minor-key metalish ballad from this intriguing female-fronted band. They’re at Arlene’s on 2/12

 

8. The Sleaze Tax – Tape You to a Star

This is consistently surprising, multistylistic indie rocker Barbara Manning’s latest project, something akin to Exene’s shortlived but excellent Auntie Christ

 

9. The Darrin James Band – Had Enough of Me

Swinging minor-key oldtimey Waits-style piano ballad as Jack Grace might have done it. Sweet. He’s at the Parkside on 1/15.

 

10. Steel Battalion – The Emo Blues

“This song is dedicated to all those motherfuckers who wear more makeup than girls,” snarls these NJ rockers’ frontman on this LOL funny parody. They’re at Trash on Jan 18.

January 12, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment