Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reviews:: What Capitalism Was Find It Hold It

About a week ago, I posted a few tracks from What Capitalism Was. Through the power of the net, I ended up with a copy of the Find It Hold It LP (thanks Morgan) and have been listening happily for the last day or so.

What Capitalism Was is actually just one guy – John Catfish - and this album plays more like his stream of consciousness than a well-thought out project. To be honest, therein lies his brilliance. The songs are usually just his vocals (often double tracked) and some gentle picked sounds, but it sounds so natural and comes off so effortlessly that the songs really stand out. The strength of this LP is that when you listen, you really couldn’t tell when it was made. Catfish transcends generations by being somewhat unaffected by the one he is actually living in.

Like I said, the album is really a simple container for his songs. The short, lo-fi nature and obscure, almost playful subject matter makes me think of Daniel Johnston, and like Johnston he doesn't focus on trying to create a start-to-finish affair. John simply records his thoughts and ideas. Winter Waiting creates a picture of a young man, curled up reading, but he somehow starts talking about pet emus. He has songs about simply riding downhill on his bike. Not really your normal song ideas, but that’s why I love this record.

The crackle of the recording, the simplicity of the songs… without the chops to back it up this record would be a waste of time. For every artist that actually records an enjoyable demo tape-esque home recording collection, thousands fall short. John is able to channel his emotions and simple stories into an experimental, off-kilter adventure. It’s not for everyone, and certainly not a record you can just throw on and embrace. I’ve been listening to it nonstop for the last day or two and every time it stops, I am left with a different feeling.

I think the key to projects like this is risk. I’m not sure that many people would actually be stoked on a track of a grandmother-ish voice talking over sound effects and a mouth harp or a simple collection of “accordion cuts” and random sound effects, but for every track that stumbles, John has a handful that work perfectly. I think the fact he doesn’t care what you think about an idea that may have inspired him for a brief moment forces you to take notice of his thoughts that come out just right.

MP3:: the sorry state

Posted at 11:58 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Morgan did sayeth:

Awesome! You found the cover art- I'd been looking for that.

 

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