This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

"This hat is my most prized possesion"

Sorry for the absence. Andrea and I live in Baltimore now, a few blocks down the street from two of our best friends and the Ottobar, so you can imagine I'm happy. We're officially engaged, and I live in the land of $6 cases of Natty Boh. Life is good.

HOLY SHIT THE ELECTION IS OVER FUCKING FINALLY YAY! And the guy who might actually do a good job won out over the walking ghoul and his ignorant, lunatic sidekick. Needless to say, I got good and shitfaced and participated in a mob.

The last time I was that stumbledrunk (I am the king of segues) was when we all piled on for the Revival Tour, which was three solid hours of insanity and discrete, drunken man hugs. (To which Andrea rolled her eyes and was probably just thinking "boys will be boys" over and over.) Also, flannel. Lots and lots of flannel, and the facial hair to match. Of course Chuck Ragan and Ben Nichols and Tim Barry were amazing live, but I was surprised how much I loved the opener.

Before he stepped on stage that night in a PBR hat and a striking British accent, I had only heard the name Frank Turner and had only heard one of his songs in passing. I was bummed that the other stops on the Revival Tour were getting "name" openers. Sundowner. Tom Gabel. Austin Lucas. Who was this Frank Turner guy and why was he preventing me from seeing the Gabel tear through his new solo songs?

All of that went out the window in the space of about ten seconds as he less played his guitar than attacked it, very clearly singing with some fucking backbone and enthusiasm. And man, that cat has some pipes and knows how to write a catchy melody. I know every semi punk-related limey who goes the solo route without trying to hide their accent is going to get compared to Billy Bragg from now until the nuclear apocalypse, in this case there's actually some validity. (It doesn't hurt that Turner, like Bragg, often has a neat turn of phrase in a seemingly bottomless arsenal and an eye for insightful observation, personal or otherwise.)

I left converted and acquired a good portion of his solo material. It's not often that you come across a singer-songwriter who covers Black Flag and sings about partying with the dying. Start with "Vital Signs," one of the single best songs of this decade. If scathing indictments of the people who populate fringe subcultures (like punk) are your thing, you're going to love "Reasons Not to Be an Idiot," which while critical, does not treat its subjects with complete contempt. He treads familiar ground, but it's done with more humanity and optimism than a million howling "you're a poser!" punk and hardcore songs.

(Do not, however, go looking up his old band, Million Dead. If the name is not a dead giveaway, the group was a subpar, also-ran Refused ripoff. Frank clearly can sing, but it's in the wrong context - think Ted Leo being in Animal Crackers.)

Vital Signs -

Nashville, TN -

Reasons Not to Be an Idiot -

Substitute -


Anonymous nameless said...

You guys got Frank Turner on the Revival Tour!?! Holy shit! He's amazing! I wanted to see him with Fake Problems when they came out to CA, but he didn't play the show I went to (and going to the one where he would be, was problematic.) "Reasons to Not Be an Idiot" is an excellent song, as is the rest of Love, Ire and Song. Come to think of it, most of his stuff is pretty good; can't really go wrong with any of it. Nice write up.

10:17 PM

Anonymous Slazey said...

I met Frank yesterday when I saw Fake Problems... not only a great musician, but a genuine guy.

Unconvinced on the facial hair though!

5:12 PM

Blogger Dead Rock n Roller said...

I saw him with Fake Problems as well. He was great. I talked to him at a bar after the show and he seemed to be a pretty solid guy.

5:30 PM

Blogger signals said...

Frank Turner is brilliant. Hell of a lyricist.

11:50 AM


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