Friday, August 29, 2008


I'm just really discovering YouTube a little (now that we have high-speed). Amazing what creatvity and a littleediting can do. This is absolutelyhilariousand yet could be a hit single....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gear Daddies, Billy's Live Bait

I forget where I found this record, but it has a $4 price tag on it. These boys were second-tier contemporaries of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, Jayhawks, and others from the late-eighties Minneapolis scene. Playing understated, competent roots-rock, the Gear Daddies pulled a nice one off with this record. Too bad the band name, and album title for that matter, brings to mind some lunkhead covers bar band who finally got a shot at recording an album.

Two things lift this record from mediocrity. First is the production and mastering. While the band doesn’t go out on any limbs musically, their basic sound crackles and snaps with well-recorded authority, and without heavy-handed (nor overly light) production. On “Where Your Crown” and “Time Heals” the rhythm section in particular snap with a crisp authority that keeps the listener interested.

Songwriter Martin Zellar brings the other real highlight to this record, a great batch of tunes that explore the sunless underside of daily life. This isn’t some mopey stuff a la Mark Eitzel or early Cure, but rather focuses on his own self-deprecating outlook. Take “Where Your Crown” for example:
Open your eyes and look around / Then slowly get up off the ground / First figure where you are / Find your keys, your coat, your car / I don’t want to wear your crown / I’ll only let you down

Maybe it wasn’t meant to be / I’ve got a past keeps haunting me / No matter how hard I try / It’s there, it stares me in the eye / I don’t want to wear your crown / I’ll only let you down / Please don’t make me wear your crown / Don’t you know I was born to let you down? / I don’t want to wear your crown / I’ll only let you down

Doesn’t get any clearer than that, huh? How about “No One Home”:

And the clouds move in / Out of nowhere / Then they’re gone again / My hands are shaking and I’m out of cigarettes / My mind turns over fourteen years of regrets / I lock the doors and unplug the phone / Ain’t no one home

This would all be pretty depressing stuff if it wasn’t delivered with such solid and non-downer music. And that explains why this record stands out so well, that dichotomy between lyrical focus and sharp musicianship presents a pretty ironic package that grabs you, pulls you into the story. Too bad these guys didn’t make it. After breaking up in 1992, Zellar went out on his own, although the GD’s have reformed for a few reunion gigs since.