I've got a lot of catching up to do — all this time wasting valuable column inches ruminating about wine and punk rock and jazz and metal … enough already. Let's get down to doing what good newspapers are supposed to do: push product. The stacks have stacked up on my desk again, and I'll have no time this week to go off on wistful asides about how irritated I was that Shooter Jennings took an hour to get on stage last week, or how I was even more irritated that the Zero Boys show went from a three-band bill to a five-band bill. It was the week of going out but not actually seeing the bands I went out to see, and I could fill up a lot of space ranting, but there's work to do.
So this is going to be the first week (of many) where I attempt to dwindle those stacks down to a manageable level.
To start things off, I thought it would be appropriate to point out some of the intriguing local releases that have stumbled into my office. I've always studiously avoided paying any attention to Jim O'Rourke and the Filthy Little Lies. The combined effect of him sharing a name with the other Jim O'Rourke and his omnipresence at local open-mike nights gave me the mistaken impression that he was a hack with a cool name. As the members of some long-running local bands join in the chorus, let's agree that occasionally, the conclusions I've reached about certain scene stalwarts could use, um, "finessing." The Days of Wine and Posers has been finessing the crap out of me for a while now, as the David Schweizer-produced disc is a burly batch of smart-minded roots-rock that avoids genre cliché in favor of witty lyricism, off-kilter arranging and warm production. (I swear to God, Schweizer is one of this city's greatest musical assets.) It's a record full of catchy surprises, with an undercurrent of sly subversion that demands repeated listenings — it reminds me of the Posies when they got really bitter. Don't make the same mistake I did and sleep on this guy.
Speaking of mistakes
Blue Meridian just released a DVD of their 2005 U.K. tour, cleverly titled 2005 United Kingdom Tour Documentary. Although Blue Meridian technically isn't an Orlando band anymore, having made their way to the City of Angels in pursuit of fame and fortune, the effect of their incredibly long run as poll-winning self-marketing machines lingers over the City Beautiful. Say what you will, but Blue Meridian pulled off what few Orlando bands have — a 17-show run through the U.K. that met with better-than-average response. But that doesn't make up for the numbingly self-aggrandizing tone of the DVD, nor the sheer inanity of what they decided to include — driving on the "wrong" side! The van breaks down! We eat funny food! Donovan Lyman wears a shirt that says "Donovan"! I think what's most hilarious (and sad) about this DVD is that it proves that one of the greatest obstacles facing so many bands these days is a deeply held belief that they are the first band to ever do anything.
In some other West Coast-via-Orlando news, the L.A.-based Slow January label (run by former Orlandoan Chris Sapone `Shyster, Club Nowhere`) is about to release the new disc by Portland's Alan Singley (formerly the man behind Orlando's Missouri Loves Company, as well as a member of Pilots v. Aeroplanes) in June. Lovingkindness is a semi-psychotic romp through brainy singer-songwriter territory that sounds more Pacific Northwest than it does Central Florida. This sucks, because we could use a few more entrants in our "semi-psychotic" and "brainy" categories — especially a few who can write songs as incredible as "Short Sleeve Stumblah."
Also finding national release via an L.A.-based label, Supervillains put out their new disc, Grow Yer Own, on Law Records, run by Pepper drummer Yesod Williams. For those familiar with Supervillains, the disc's first 13 tracks hold few surprises, despite the fact that this is the best that their spliff-punk has ever sounded, coming dangerously close to a real capture of their live infectiousness. Yet, come track 14 — the 28-minute "Mary Jane and Jägermeister" — a surprise is definitely in store. Not in the subject matter or skanky groove of the song itself, but in the ridiculously juvenile (and completely hilarious) 20-minute stoner babble at the track's end.
Oh yeah, Greater Grey released their new disc too. It's called The Summer Ends, and that's all I can say about it because one of the dudes works firstname.lastname@example.org