Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of katebush by Primitive Bush.

(Hey Marty, sorry I didn't have time to edit it, dude. I'm like falling asleep. I think you get the basic gist. Work your usual magic. And yes, I do cross maybe a few boundaries, but I'm pretty sure they'll be fine. Take whatever liberties you must, though - I understand. Tell Tori and the girls I said hi or whatever. Merry Christmas also. - D.)

I remember in grad school I had this roommate named John. I'll say nothing in print about his character, but I will tell you of one of his habit's, possibly his most irksome to me. He would sneak into my room while I was gone. (I'm getting chills just thinking about it.) And he would touch my love. He would pick her up, play her with his awful dirty hands, knocking her all out of tune, and he would write songs, these godawful, drunk-prick-at-the-campfire ballads. "Hey dude, real quick: just check this song out," he'd say when I'd come home, catching him in the act. (Though, on the occasions that I didn't return home and he was afforded the opportunity to cover his tracks, he did as such, but his methods were mind-boggling, totally preposterous. You don't throw an orgy to cover up lipstick on your collar. You don't turn over my desk to put the pick back. I'd mention it in passing - as he passed me to "bum" something of mine in the refrigerator while I did the dishes - and he'd say: "I don't know, dude. You ask the cats?") But I'd listen to the songs. I don't know why - morbid curiosity? Admittedly, I still get "If You Were a Dude" stuck in my head, but for the most part his songs were some of the worst I'd ever heard; often I wondered how a grown man could be so out of touch with reality, so oblivious to everything. Yet he was. And that brings me to my point: so is this band, Primitive Bush.

When Marty asked me if I wanted to do a last-minute album review - "just a quick eight hundred worder" - before the Christmas issue went out, I said "sure" and figured I'd just stay at home some night and get paid to jam a record, drink a little tea, and kill that bottle of black label I bought myself to celebrate my son's first year alive on this terrible planet. "Great!" Marty said, "I'll drop the tape off later. You gonna be home?" Tape? As in cassette? Are you kids serious? If you wanna be retro, put it on wax. Cassettes were a digression in the evolutionary journey of sound, the stumble between analog and digital. However, I am a professional music listener and I do have the means to listen to a cassette tape - though I have almost zero understanding of how they work. So - you know - my girl left to go see The Blind Side or something, and I stayed home and got drunk with my son (he wasn't drinking, I promise that's just a dangling modifier) and jammed katebush, the debut album by Austin's Primitive Bush. As I put in the tape, I said to myself: If this band sucks then so does this album title; but if they rule then so does this album title.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing could've prepared me for what I heard when the tape came on. It was John, the ass I lived with back in Pittsburgh for almost three years, and some girl, some - I don't know? - girl. But it was John! It was sneak-into-my-room-and-molest-my-stuff John! Apparently he had met a girl, founded a band (possibly these first two could be switched, I'm not sure; I know I usually do my homework on this stuff, but I couldn't bring myself to this time, whatever) , named it Primitive Bush, (somehow) got a record deal and cut a ten song album since I'd last spoken with him about two years ago. Last I heard he was possibly doing time for possession. Had me fled and started a band? I flipped through the liner notes - John's unmistakable nasally baritone bellowing the opening track "Long-haired Alleycat" in the background -but found nothing. Really? Had John finally learned the simple art of discretion? Was this some kind of Chestertonian joke providence was playing on me? I was certain the idiot playing guitar and singing in a flat maudlin affectation was John, but I had no proof. Usually labels or bands give you these things we in the biz call "one sheets." The purpose of the one sheet is to provide useful information to the reviewer, DJ, label executive, etc., information such as the biography and the history of the band/artist, influences of the band/artist, current record sales, countries thus visited/rocked, plans for the immediate and distant future ( but not beyond the myopic vision of the fanbase), and sometimes interviews from zines are included, and the listener is given a peak at psyche of the band/artist. Primitive Bush had a one sheet. At least I got a one sheet. Whether or not anyone else who reviewed or promoted this album got a one sheet, I am not sure, for my one sheet was a custom one sheet. It was addressed directly to me, signed John Prince. It ran: "Told you."

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