by Tom Hallett
OK, so that idyllic evening I told ya'll about last week--the one where I communed with nature, and a full moon, and great music and sweet treats--well, let's just say that like anywhere else on this big ole spinnin' ball of shit, blood, tears and sweat, even the pristine reaches of Southeastern Alaska have their not-so-fun moments. This past week, I've been so busy chasing down hokey internet connections, flaky former buddies, and my own tail, that I nearly didn't have any time at all to spin a new album. Fortunately, last night the stars aligned just right, the waning moon shed a comforting--if weak--ray of forgiveness and peace upon me, and I delved into a local fave I'd been meaning to crow about for some time.
Tonight, the skies are nearly opaque--those royal glaciers are hidden in clouds of misty grey vapor, and the ocean is a dark, choppy, white-capped renegade. I'm sneaking a cigarette (SEVEN bucks a pack here in granola-land, but the other smoke-ables around town make this particular pain-in-the-wallet worth it by far) out the window of my no-smoking room, and crankin' this little gem on the box ...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Do you really believe that most of
today's art came about because of The Beatles? I don't believe you are that
insane ... didn't we always say we were part of a movement, not all of it?"-
John Lennon, in a 1970 letter to fellow ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
SONG OF THE WEEK: "We Don't Use The F-Word (In Country
Music)"- Hank Williams, Jr.
St. Agnes Eve
Royalty, Etc. Records
Track Listing: Wind To The Reach/ Supposed To Be/ So Long
In My Life/ Who Stole The Phone?/ Catch A Boat To England/ You Deserve No Chivalry
From Me/ In Every Life/ How Long 'Til We Are Free To Love/ Pole Swimmer/ St.
Agnes Eve/ Windbox/ The Planets
Personnel: Ty Morse: Guitar, vocals, etc. (See RoyaltyRecords.comTyMorse
for more info)
Morse (who also formed and runs local indie label Royalty, Etc. Records) is
a guy who's seriously into people--from the very first melancholy guitar note
of album opener "Wind To The Reach" to the very last line on the record--"...
everything I wanted, is here"--this cat is clearly a dude with some heavy
soul. Ya know how some albums jump out an' grab ya--if they were comic books,
they'd have sound balloons over the character's heads with cheesy action-oriented
terms like "Biff!" "Bam," and "Ka-Blooey!!" Well,
if Morse's debut album were a comic book, it'd surely be either a beautifully-drawn
anime' feature or a twisted, black-and-white futuristic private eye mini-drama.
St. Agnes Eve (I'm not Catholic, so to me, even the title evokes some strange,
annual family celebration--do people dress up like St. Agnes? Is there drinking
involved? Do they recreate the burning at the stake? I'll never rest until I
know the real story!) eases in like a mysterious, rain-soaked stranger sidling
up to the bar at a quarter-til-closing in a neighborhood dive.
Morse's voice is a cross between a less-worried Epic Soundtracks and a raspy,
cigarette-blasted Steve Earle. Sometimes. Other times, he sounds like Wayne
Coyne, or Robert Pollard, or that kid who plays open stage to four drunks, a
Xanax-addicted waitress and a deadbeat dad bartender at some local beer joint
in Everytown, U.S.A. Highlights
include the trippy, catchy wack-pop ditty "Who Stole The Phone," which
sounds like what might happen if Ev and Ryan Olcott of 12 Rods were accidentally
locked in a local recording studio with a case of Boone's Farm Strawberry Wine,
some former members of The Odd, any two guys who played with The Replacements
after 1990 and that guy who swears he can play the harmonica but never gets
around to showing anyone he can really do it. "Catch A Boat To England"
would fit nicely on a road mix betwixt John Cale's "Gideon's Bible"
and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown." “You Deserve No Chivalry From
Me" is a righteous, triumphant blast of vitriol directed at a naughty ex,
and "Pole Swimmer" makes for perfect summer radio fodder ("This
is SO feel good," Morse chortles as the tune fades in on easy acoustic
strumming and a sleepy, loping beach beat.
The title cut dives deep and hard into delicious indie pop waters, Morse coming
off like a sunny-day troubadour caught unawares, with a bad case of the "Night
Befores" and at least a billion questions about the universe, time and
how ants can carry something like five hundred times their own body weight;
That's a good thing, by the way, at least in my book. Rounding off this entire
tasty batch of mid-fi closet classics is closer "The Planets," which
reads like the captain's log it probably is: "Just another night on Neptune/
And all the instruments are out of tune/ But no one even dares to make a sound/
Did you think it was strange/ That I was slipping into context ..." Naw,
we prefer the mystery, Ty. Here's wishing you the best on the next leg of your
musical journey, brother. Keep it comin'!!
That's all for this week, my little Spring flowers ... tune in again next
week, same time, same space, for more of the same. Until then--make yer own
If you have local music news;/gigs;/events you'd like to see mentioned
in this column, or you'd just like to apply for your own musical Ion-ator, send
replies to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com.