The Magic Numbers at Mercury Lounge 7/18/18

13 years after falling in love with The Magic Numbers I was resigned to the idea that I’d probably never see them play live. They last played in Chicago before I moved here (8 years ago) and have primarily played shows in the UK and South America. Short of flying to their hometown my chances to catch a show were pretty slim. Miraculously they found … Continue reading The Magic Numbers at Mercury Lounge 7/18/18

The Fluids-No Kidding!

A new band is born every 2.8 seconds in New York City. Many of them have the same parents, so they end up sounding similar and get lost in the noise. The only way to stand out is to be a little different, and The Fluids excel at avoiding traditional rock values. There’s something unnervingly intense about their music that makes it impossible to stop … Continue reading The Fluids-No Kidding!

Odetta Hartman-Tally Marks/”End Of The World”

Last week on Facebook and Twitter I was praising a brand new single from Odetta Hartman called “End Of The World.” I didn’t review it here because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, I don’t like to review singles very much. After doing a little sleuthing, I found that she has an EP out called Tally Marks, which that single wasn’t featured on. The EP … Continue reading Odetta Hartman-Tally Marks/”End Of The World”

The Great American Novel-Kissing


I keep waiting for the day when someone sends me a record that was made at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen that is terrible. I don’t understand how it’s possible that everything spun out of that studio is so brilliant. A lot of the credit has to go to producer Oliver Ignatius, who is behind the boards on almost all of the songs. A good deal also needs to go to the bands that have chosen to record there. Unknown throughout most of the world, they are quietly making some of the best music you can find. One of the first bands I heard about from the studio was The Great American Novel. You & I was a fun romp, if slightly immature. They’re back now with their second album, Kissing, which came out last week.

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Layne Montgomery has taken a great leap forward with this record. His songwriting has improved drastically, he seems to be more comfortable with his voice, and the album has a great cohesiveness that You & I was lacking. I had a good feeling as soon as I heard the lead single, “American Weekend.” In that one song Montgomery was able to capture all the angst and optimism that is scattered throughout Kissing.

I’ve listened to this album quite a few times now, and I think the song that really draws me in is “All The Sad Young Literary Men.” All the songs leading up to this one are solid,really solid, but the way the words mix in probably two dozen or so author’s names is pretty impressive. They also give away where the band’s name comes from. The first line had me hooked right away, “It all started when she told me that she loved Vonnegut that’s when I knew that she wasn’t emotionally with it.” The music throughout Kissing reminds me of a post-punk version of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” and it’s never more evident than on this track. Continue reading “The Great American Novel-Kissing”