Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bands to Shave, 1971

Dumb Angel, Dumb Angel cdr
The Lindsay, Live At Fillmore West cdr

It's been kinda slow lately in Columbusland when it comes to new releases, but that's January for you. Luckily I've been handed two stellar cdr EP's of late that should give fans of scruffy indie pop enough hooks to keep warm until more comes our way.
First up is Brad Caulkins' Dumb Angel project, his one-man band that debuted late in 2006 before temporarily leaving the Midwest for Los Angeles. If you know Caulkins from his days with the Jive Turkeys and the Sun, the sounds on this eight song demo will not be a huge surprise: catchy, acoustic guitar-driven 60's pop with a kitchen-sink accompaniment showcasing Brad's numerous musical skills.
Of the six originals here (two covers; one each from Randy Newman and the Everly Brothers) opener "To Be Honest..." is a blueprint for Dumb Angel's style: a love ditty straight from the Zombies songbook recorded a little rough around the edges with acoustic guitar as the base and layers of electric and slide guitar, Beach Boys harmonies and a guitar solo worthy of the Rubber Soul. Oh yeah, there's a sax solo as well. Lot's of stuff going on, all performed by Mr. Caulkins, I'm assuming (great job on the drums too!). "Idle Bell" may be even catchier, if that's at all possible, despite the over-the-top vocal performance. It's a little more Kinksian in spirit - think circa-Village Green album - with flourishes of Spector's wall-of-sound in the production.
Pretty much everything here is of the highest quality, though - even the recording provides quite a bit of craft - and it's a shame for Columbus that Brad only spent a few months playing these songs out. No matter where Caulkins ends up - whether it be Columbus or California - let's hope his Dumb Angel experiment continues. Fans of the Minders, the Shins and another Sun side-project - Sam Brown's You're So Bossy - should take note.

Fortunately for Columbus The Lindsay are staying put, and they continue to bring the pain first felt on last year's masterpiece, Dragged Out, this time in the form of three sound checks from their sold-out shows at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco. While we don't get any songs about Manson Family murder victims, we do get a nice snapshot of the band's past and future. As far as I can tell (please correct me if I'm wrong), "Change My Oil" is a newer track, and it's the gem of this batch. The guitar interplay on it really reminds me of that Neil Young & Crazy Horse bootleg, Live At Fillmore East, which has finally seen the light of day. Two separate guitars twist and turn back and forth between each other to the point where it doesn't matter who's is where, until, during the extended bridge it all falls apart, de-tunes, and eventually joins forces again. John Olexovitch's vocals sound like a less-throaty Steve fact, I hear a lot of the Dream Syndicate in their more recent sound. If anything this song shows off The Lindsay's ability to stretch things out in a short amount of time; it's definitely a strength of theirs. At times during their recent live shows you could even call them Columbus' very finest mini-jam band.
The other two tracks are older songs, and "Thurston Moore Sed" is the band at their brattiest. Grechen Tepper's bass leads the way through a noisy three-chord romp as she and John shout different things that, apparently, Thurston Moore said at one point or another. I have a feeling this would be (or was at one point) local legend Don Bovee's favorite Lindsay song. Closer "The Bachelor" is more of a slow burner, again displaying the feedback-laden talents of lead-guitarist Tom Schmidt and John, while the rhythm section (rounded out by Jim Lavery) riffs on something resembling a reggae beat. All in all an excellent "pseudo EP", as the band is calling it, and definitely an important lesson in the book of Lindsay that all of you should be studying by now. They'll be taking a few months of much-deserved r'n'r while recording a 7" due out in early Spring. We'll be patiently awaiting Dragged Out on vinyl and any new recordings we can get our hands on.


b.miller said...

I need both of these immediately.

Doug said...

you can get the lindsay ep through the band or maybe at used kids (?). as far as dumb angel, who knows when brad will be back in town...or if he'll get a myspace together. i'll try and contact him to see if i can share the album here.