by Tom Hallett
No outrageous rants or long-winded raves this time ’round, gang—we’ll just let the mouth-breathers, soul-stealers and baby-headed death-eaters think they’re gettin’ away with somethin’ for a few days, eh? In the meantime, we’ve got a whole passel of new CD and DVD releases to run through, so let’s chew up the last of the ice in that whiskey glass, grab our chaps an’ goggles and head out into the wind ...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Remember when you used to watch
TV in the Sixties and you’d see Perry Como in a cashmere sweater? That's
what rock ’n’ roll is becoming—it’s your parents’
music.” — Neil Young
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Hard Times” — Eastmountainsouth
Tuesday Night Lie
Learning Curve Records
Kruddler, an obvious contender for St. Paul’s most underrated three-piece
rock outfit, returns with another healthy blast of aural ass-kickin’ on
their latest, Tuesday Night Lie. This band has always had a larger-than-life,
gut-bustin’ stage presence, but TNL finds them (with able assistance
from Mike Wisti at Albatross Studios, both in the booth and on the album) more
properly represented on the recorded format than at any time in the past.
Frontman/guitarist Shane Gallivan, bassist/vocalist Tony Zaccardi, and skinman
Tim Baumgart have not only refined and grown into the brash, rebellious groove
they’re so well-known for, but have also penned a batch of tracks here
that stand up lyrically to some of the best stuff coming out of the Twin Cities
these days. Kicking off with the dirty, street-wise hump of “Beer And
A Half,” the boys make no bones about their rock n’ roll goals right
from the get-go.
“Portland,” which features bassist Zaccardi on lead vocals, is a
rousing, anthemic stomper, replete with soccer-stadium-worthy background hollas,
Baumgart’s beat-perfect pounding and Gallivan’s staccato-burst axework.
“Cake” is a perfect, naughty little B-side, sporting casual rhythms,
pop-perfect “ba-da-da-da” choruses, and quirky, wink-and-a-nod lines
like, “... wine is fine, but whiskey screams I LOVE YOU!”
the true measure of this group’s recent growth is to be found on the re-cut
version of live fan fave “Pour Me.” This insanely catchy, heart-tugging
ballad was a powerful enough shot of angst in its demo form; here, it morphs
into a full-on, radio-ready iced tumbler by amping up the rhythm section, craftily
incorporating spine-chilling keyboards, and becoming an actual duet featuring
the dulcet pipes of Kim Sheehan (who, if I’m not mistaken, also pulled
lead duties for local Heart cover outfit Sheart a while back) on alternating
vocals. If this song isn’t on your local pub’s jukebox, you’ve
got a reason to start bitching, my friends.
Other stand-outs here include the Clash/early INXS-inspired “She Knows”
with its ferocious backbeat, gleefully whining guitars, and more hooks than
your favorite uncle’s fishin’ hat and “4-5!,” a punky,
self-descriptive howl of pure protest—“Let’s keep rock ’n’
roll alive!”—that name-drops the Kiss Army and dares you to knock
the chip off its shoulder.
The record closes out with yet another catchy, hummable anti-anthem in the slashing,
soaring “I Do Not Want To Be Liked Anymore,” which finds the band
alternately celebrating their own accomplishments (musically) and rejecting
the stench of pop-mongering that inevitably follows such growth for local outfits.
Regardless of the sentiments, with an album as chock-full of pop-savvy, ass-motivatin’,
soul-searchin’ rock ’n’ roll as this one, Kruddler will be
hard-pressed to not be liked anytime soon. Great stuff, guys (and gal)!
Part modern junkie tragedy, part self-styled vehicle to introduce a new generation
of music lovers to the works of gravel-voiced singer/songwriter Tom Waits, “East
Of Sunset” manages to outdo itself on both counts. Written by Heather
Miller (who was recruited specifically to pen a tale around the music, haunts
and desperate lifestyles of the denizens of the Silverlake area of L.A. and
chose to use her own life experiences as the basis of the script), directed
by Brian McNelis and produced by Evan Cohen, this film is not only relentlessly
honest and brutally direct, but also surprisingly endearing.
Revolving around the dysfunctional, pill-and-booze-addled life of Carley (stunningly
portrayed by the gifted and inspiring actress Emily Stiles), a 20-something
barfly with a penchant for painkillers and vodka breakfasts, “EOS”
tempers its explorations of the emptiness inherent in modern living with an
almost tender overview of the damaged souls experiencing it. When Carley meets
up-and-coming artist Jim (played by Jimmy Wayne Farley) in a local dive, their
paths intertwine and become the main focus of the proceedings.
Throughout the drunken afternoons, bleary nights and hung-over days following
their introduction, Carley and Jim form a nebulous, chemically-fueled bond (he’s
an on-and-off heroin chipper) while still proceeding to blindly destroy their
slow-blooming relationship at every turn. Carley fights her urges to settle
down and hang up her red shoes for Jim, while he scrambles to balance his burgeoning
art career with his growing habit and his affection for a woman who’s
as perfectly, assuredly doomed as he himself is.
cast of characters here is at a minimum, leaving the bulk of the task to Stiles
and Farley, both of whom ably accomplish the formidable goal of carrying the
movie. Filmed in 2004 on location in some of the seediest joints in Silverlake,
and featuring house band [the] Caseworker (a hugely talented San Fran slo-core
outfit who gamely mime their ingenious, respectful Waits interpretations onstage
throughout the film), the tale admirably takes on the shadowy hue of such classics
as “Taxi Driver” and “Midnight Cowboy” while incorporating
a decidedly more modern worldview.
The ending of a junkie drama isn’t hard to predict, but there are plenty
of intricate twists and turns and some unbelievable camera work (especially
considering the tiny budget this film had) along the way. The inclusion of selections
from Waits’ early ’70s/’80s repertoire redone by such acts
as Lydia Lunch, Frente, Botanica and the aforementioned [the] Caseworker only
crystallizes the director’s aim of transporting the viewer inside of the
lonely, dim atmosphere the film’s characters inhabit and is just as important
here as the story itself.
Lots of great extras with this package, as well, including a CD of the soundtrack,
director’s commentary (which is a must-see; McNelis and Cohen break down
every relevant frame and discuss at length the importance of the soundtrack
to the film itself) and a promotional video for the song “Old Shoes.”
A must-see for Waits fans, budding junkies and students of top-notch, low-budget
indie film. Order online at MusicVideoDistributors.com
That’s it for this time out, folks. Tune in again, same time, same space,
for more! Until then—make yer own damn news.
If you have local music news/gigs/events/CDs you’d like to see mentioned
in this column, or you’d just like to share your own junkie drama, send
replies to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com. ||