Bands. I work with them. And you are reading this, probably, because I work with some rock and roll act (that could or could not be a product of "the law of diminishing returns" via Rock and Roll's basic curse of repetition and boring-you-out) that you absolutely love....this week or at least love until they disappoint with a marketing decision you think ill advised or they sarcastically reply to your "tweet", leaving you the rubbed red lover scorned ......which could be easily explained away with the notion that you may or may not understand sarcasm because you are possibly in an age group who has spent your formals hugging the internet more than base human communication. Which I mean, no judgment, I don't like talking to people either and I am way stoked that the internet exists so I can at least project a personality that makes onlookers feel the warmth of labyrinthine jerk moves designed to catch flies over fans. If you have read more than one of these stupid things, your inner parent is wishing that you would actually just not do it again., ever. I get that.
Regardless, I work with music groups who usually are the earnest, linear type with a fetish for pop music in structure and/or touch. You know the deal because you like them. And after a complete cavern year (2009), 2010 has been a 38" muffin stuffing itself into a 24" velvet box, which for those bad at trig : overflowing with a number of few things that make me feel busy and wanted. You probably like to be wanted, you are normal and reading this and know that : Everyone wants to be wanted. Obviously, I am not here to talk to you about the human experience, I am here to shill like a slow Saturday night on the other side of off season, if you dig my meaning.
So, here we go, Round Three:
FAKE PROBLEMS - REAL GHOSTS CAUGHT ON TAPE
came out last week. I am a little slow these days with the updated and timely blog postings (see the post before this for a little riddle of steel as to why), but, whatever, I showed to the party with a bag of cats and some yoke, so screw. I should have whited that out, probably. Anyway, regardless, segueway, the record - Well, for me, the record plays like a band that has officially shadowed past whatever shadow critics keep pouring their intent into (Short hand : Americana fused with the youth musical movement known as punk rock. Shorter hand : bands that sound like Against Me!) and while I never really thought that Fake Problems were ever a punk band, more a solid pop band that shakes hands with punk bands while they boat shoe the faces of punk band show audiences, I get the laziness of music critics punching in the hotline for byline. Fuck, I do it as well, hell, we all cheat sometimes right? And sometimes it's just lunch time and you need to get your thoughts internet wide, cheap and dirty. And next you will read me typing, GHOSTS is a pop record, through and through, from the beach to the blanket it surfaces and soothes in a mature complexity that reads with a granular touch (pretentious : auteurs in hand & product) that is so hard to breach in most currents of popular (or unpopular) music. It's a comfortable (but not dead) listen that is drawn, scribbled out and redrawn from hard work and the pouring of personality into their music making career's muscle memory. Meaning, GHOSTS doesn't skip on any frayed moment or thought to deliver to the farthest edges of it's intent and that, in my opinion, is hard as fuck for even the most talented singer songwriter band types. So, to me, the record is a success. It's also the sort of record I don't normally search out but am always happy to find & when the opportunity unearthed to work Problems through the Steak grinder once again, I was well into the lather of hand wringing the different directions we could go with the design. And, as ideas and outset intent tend to be transient lovers of disappointment and Frankenstein's monster, the project's design started as a thick, dark mood piece and transformed into an (early) Jade Tree VHS tape dipped of water damage, memory & road trips. Or something. And I am happy with it, I think Steak Mtn. did a nice job. There is more attention to design over imagery (as the flip is usually, well, the flip of that as far as what Steak viewers view or casually comprehend, map, etc.) and it was an interesting experiment of my ego and collaboration to take Casey Lee's rummaged ruminations and retrofit them into a constructed memento of a band in the next phase of their creative careers.
To take a look at a lean presentation of the record, you can check the Steak site. If my baroque idiocy has formed an interest in Fake Problems you never knew was there, well here, here, and here is where you meet the business end of their craft. And if you get really adventurous, check out three chord futurists (now there is a riddle of steel that stretches to a "reaching" and VERY "obtuse" rhythm), The Gaslight Anthem infuse an empty belly on a key track from GHOSTS, "Songs For Teenagers".