by Tom Hallett
More sweaty summer reviews this week, folks ... strap on them goofy flippers, your favorite cut-offs an’ that too-tight pair of goggles, and take the plunge ...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “We have to strive to be real, that's all.
Being real is not something that just happens to you. You have to sort of keep
at it” — Yoko Ono
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Soft Hand” — The Willard Grant
Love Is The Greatest Revenge
Ahhh ... Oakland, California. Ancestral home to world-famous sports teams,
fire-breathing Hell’s Angels, retired hippies-turned-yuppies and, of course,
Tremolo front man Justin Dillon. A talented songwriter with better connections
than God (as played by George Burns, of course), Dillon’s taken his DIY
debut EP You Were Born For This and repackaged it as a stunning, poppin’
fresh full-length. He’s reworked a couple of tunes, burned up his speed-dialer
finding kick-ass fill-in band members, and even found enough spare energy to
set up a “fan-only trust fund” that will take half the proceeds
of this record and dole it out to various charities. (The PR packet calls this
practice “praxis,” but methinks somebody maybe gobbled some good
spores whilst sitting through repeated showings of the movie “Pay It Forward”
But let’s go back to the (sorta) beginning, here. After taking guitar
lessons in high school, Dillon shelved his musical dreams to pursue a degree
in industrial psychology (is dat da kinda shrink Al Jourgenson goes to??), only
returning to his first love fairly recently. Sound familiar? Hell, I could name
20 top-flight Twin Cities musicians playing in the same coffeehouses during
the evening that they work at during the day who’ve made the same decision.
The difference? They aren’t good buddies with former Counting Crows drummer
Steve Bowman, who not only guided Dillon through his first awkward songwriting
attempts (“I got my boobies!” he blurts in the press kit), but also
apparently loaned him his Big Black Rock Rolodex, too. Ya know what they say:
it’s not what you know, but ...
Contributing musicians on this tight-knit, hook-heavy pop cornucopia include
Bowman on drums, Max Butler (Chuck Prophet), Julian Coryell (Aimee Mann), and
Dino Meneghin (Liz Phair) on guitars, Kris Pooley (Jane’s Addiction) and
Ben Patterson on keyboards, and Tim Hogan (Anna Nalick) on bass. Recorded in
Nashville by John Painter (Ben Folds) and mixed by Joe Zook (Sheryl Crow, Mick
Jagger, Jewel), Dillon couldn’t have asked for a more inspired, cred-crowing
crowd to help him launch his first professional commercial album.
for the songs here, you may have heard a couple of them already on television
shows or movie soundtracks, but the fresh production and new material here make
this effort worth your while to track down. Kicking off with the creeping bassline,
mysterious lyrics and U2-esque vibe of “New Eyes For A New World,”
Love Is The Greatest Revenge immediately establishes itself as not only
having a solid tie to the best that early ‘80s new wave-pop-alternative
had to offer, but with a firm foot on contemporary ground as well.
Insanely catchy, instantly accessible and devilishly memorable, the album only
gets tastier as the grooves spin on. “Can You Feel It Now” is an
upstart little mod ditty rife with wink-and-a-nod lyricism, pounding rhythms
and Stones-y guitar work, while “Evil Twin” worms its deliciously
nasty way down into your skull holes like a bucket of dirty honey. “Waiting
Room” lies atop a burble of watery electronics, Dillon’s smoove
vocals snuggling in like a no-tell lover on a Saturday night, “... come
sweetly to me ... come turn the key ... to my room/waiting room ...”
There’s more here, much more, but if almost-over-the-top indie pop, great
causes and broken-hearted saviors are your bag, this one is right up yer alley.
Album out this month. Check ‘em out at TremoloMusic.net
or at MySpace.com/TremoloMusic.
That’s all for this week, kiddies. Tune in again next time ‘round
for more, more, more. Until we meet again—make yer own damn news.
If you have local music news/gigs/events/CDs you’d like to see mentioned
in this space, or you’d just like to cut a rug with me to the dulcet strains
of Phyllis Diller singing “Jimmy Crack Corn (And I Don’t Care)”
send replies to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com.