I ran across a stack of concert tickets last week while digging for non-music related fall decorations (such a thing should not exist in my humble opinion), and I thought that this would be a nice change of pace from the standard peak, pull, and photograph post. Cleverly dubbed the NINJA Tour (combining NIN and Jane’s Addiction… see what they did there?), 5/20/09 would mark the first time I’d ever see Jane’s Addiction perform, and as I’d been listening to them since early Jr. High, I jumped at the opportunity (by driving to the venue) to see this historically prominent act. I all but completely ignored NIN, but Jane’s were nothing short of astonishing, and with no hint of anticipatory letdown. Jane Says… you listen.
While prepping for a trip to the East Coast, let’s once again focus on the West Coast magistrates, Seattle’s The Murder City Devils. Rereleased in 2009, the band’s debut self-titled album struggled to stretch its indie wings, something that would over-abundantly come with their sophomore follow-up, 1998’s Empty Bottles Broken Hearts. Although certainly not the band’s most prolific moment, The Murder City Devils cements its deserving place in the collections of those who like their ear candy rough around the edges, yet melodically substantial.
Jeffrey Lewis, the famed comic book artist and occasional singer / songwriter delivers an exceptionally agonizing diddy filled with a deceivingly optimistic tone, catchy refrain, and the sliver-sharp wit that requires, no, DEMANDS repeated listens. Titled Broken Broken Broken Heart, Jeffrey Lewis and his backing band, The Junkyard, spawn a candy-coated razorblade of nervous sensitivity, discretely masked inside an anti-folk pop song, and it’s nothing short of blissful ear bourbon.
We aren’t meant to sympathize with Mr. Lewis, or whatever character he is when speaking in the first person. His over-analytical observations of (failed) relationship-causing pain are muted and all but ignored after evidence is revealed as to the cause of his (much deserved) heartache: being cruel and curious.
I’m stuck in a Jeffrey Lewis rutt as of late, and it seems as though a few times a day I need to squeeze in a quick listen, usually to the three or four key tracks off this album (2009’s ‘Em Are I). Jeffrey’s is a story of success by self-deprecation. Mix that with hooky guitars and soul-baring honesty, and you’ve got the ingredients for an emotional cocktail you’re not soon to forget.