Bradford Barker has a way about him. In the past few months we’ve become connected. Conjoined nearly. It all started with a little CATCHING UP – those that are paying attention KNOW. Whatsup. The Calendars, Death Snail, Kitty Fuckers, The Alaskas, At Stan’s Bris. All of these entities foreign to me mere months ago. And yeah I’m not going to leave off the infamous Dirty Babies Club – where it all began…. (for me)
Well, the spirit of Denizen and, by extension the Furry fraternity, is to throw a lot at you all at once. This method is refreshing and wild. So Brad drops this one on us: Saves The Nation – a studio quality release that was recorded, mixed, and mastered by co-conspirator and indie popper turned punk Gavin Caine. I knew what to expect and what not to expect. Both.
There’s plenty of remarks to be made about this record. Questions, too. But we will leave that to the talent evaluators and mass media. I’ll tell you this.
The beauty of this album is the adventurous genre hopping. Bradford goes from acoustic singer-songwriter to indie rockstar to making the alt country record that Jay Reatard never made. Splitting the difference between a Pavement era Weird Al and a vintage Dew Myron. But not ever really being satisfied with just that. Powerful.
The album to forget how to review an album.
Saves the Nation by Bradford Barker & Death Snail
Band: Cum Stain
Label: Burger Records
1. “Bachelor’s Life” – A+
2. “Broke My Dick” – A
3. “No Hearts/Big Mean Maniac” – A-
4. “Just A Kid” – A+
5. “Vicdumb” – A-
6. “Slip It Off Slip It In” – A-
7. “Smoker” – B+
8. “I Want It Now” – A
9. SuckHer4U” – A
10. “Jack Shack” – A
11. “Cum Stain” – A+
Comments: Just when I thought I heard the ‘last of the libertines’ so to speak, I hear this. Cum Stain. Whether the composers of Cum Stain realized it or not, they boldly described bachelor life from start to finish. Literally. When push comes to shove, the narrator is just another “cum stain on your rug.” This man is a heavy drinker, a heavy smoker, and a passionate lover. Except, he doesn’t actually love you or want to. Well, he wants to, but he figures that’s just a waste of time. He just wants to do it and get it over with. On “Bachelor’s Life” we learn a little bit about the dude. Every hour he “masturbates” and “just sits around and watch cartoons.” On a more positive note, he stocks whiskey and rum. “Broke My Dick” is pretty self-explanatory, but the narrator offers an alternative like none other: “slap you in the face while it’s limp.” Might as well do something, right? In a proto-hardcore punk, let me tell you what’s up kind of way, the narrator reiterates on “No Hearts/Big Mean Maniac” that he has no heart and that he is a maniac. The guy is straight nuts. Fuck, he even invented his own fetish: throwing manure in the faces of grade school children. So, just a quick recap. The dude is in his 20s, but he’s purely “just a kid.” He exemplifies that word, but puts an added spin on in it. I’m not really sure what he’s going for on “Vicdumb.” It seems like he is necessarily stating the obvious. Anything anyone does to you makes you a mere vicdumb. Perhaps the “dumb” instead of “tum” allows him to get away with whatever he wants. You’re the dumb-ass, not me for screwing you and then leaving. Vicdumb. “Slip It Off/Slip It In” is probably the maniac’s fantasies after a long day at the beach. Oh yeah, and everything you learned about smoking is all a bunch of shit. Smoking is for winners and the more the better. Another thing: impulse control? This guy has none and doesn’t care. If you can’t give him what he wants (as he says on the apropos “I Want It Now”), then he’ll go find it. Peace! It seems as if maybe there was a possibility for a relationship at one time (“SuckHer4U”), but he just couldn’t commit to anything more than casual. “Jack Shack” tells of a ride down to a “Gentleman’s Spa” where no (sleazy truck driver) knows your name. I must say, this is one of the best stories I’ve ever heard. The lyrics aren’t genius or intricate in any regard, but the narrative comes across very clearly. The music is incredibly lo-fi garage pop (similar to Nobunny circa Love Visions). It makes you think, too. Is this your average single guy with a job or an unemployed psychopath who has never had any women in his life?
Grade: A- (93)
Band: Brian Flannel
1. “Restraining Order” – A
2. “Date Rape (Real Estate)” – B
3. “Symptom Set” – B+
4. “Dogs Not Dead” – B
5. “RMPM” – A-
6. “Bonus Track” – A
Comments: Damn catchy start to the cassette. The chorus is really awesome as it features a male/female harmonious assault. “Date Rape” is more lo-fidelity and faster. I’m thinking “Symptom Set” is similar to some heavier Sonic Youth punk jams. “RMPM” is a notable jam. The exchange between the dude and chick leads to a really solid ending in the Bonus Track.
Grade: B+ (89)