CD Reviews: September, 2008

Hobo Nouveau
(End of the West)



Doing all of Deaf Sparrow on my own guarantees me only one perk; lots of free records. The rest is just hard work, writing, updating, researching, little sleep, getting shit from pissed off musicians and worse of all, the definite chance of missing on great music that’s been sitting in my face for weeks. I gotta get a new system you see; I have a trunk full of promos. Hundreds of them. It’s hard to keep them organized and even harder to keep a tab of what just arrived. I have a priority list which I try to keep to a maximum of ten. The priority pile consists of records of the biggest independent labels whose more advertised releases will logically guarantee more visits and therefore, more exposure to the lesser known bands.  Those are limited to two per week. Yeah, there is actually a logic to all of this.


Every once in a while I reorganize my little trunk of surprises, and when an album is too outdated, I just have to either can the release or add it to my collection.  If it’s good a few songs go into my Ipod.  A few months ago while going through my trunk of surprises I encountered Ghostwriter’s Darkest Hour. I was blown away by the quality of the music and saddened by the fact that enough time had passed for me not to be able to review it. I felt like a douchebag. I have had this 2007 split release with Boxcar Satan for a while now and I just wanted to make sure that Hobo Nouveau didn’t suffer the same fate.


Ghostwriter is the creation of Austin, Texas’ Steve Schecter and his music has been previously well described as ‘anarcho cow punk’. There certainly are elements of all that here. Add touches of country, folk and lots of blues, dip that in a gallon of moonshine and we are even getting closer. Here Ghostwriter is represented by seven songs; all rumble mad with a potent and organic sound. All filled with feeling up to here, all channeling old school classics from some old ass bitter Mississipi dwelling motherfuckers all the way to newer romantic troubadours like Tom Waits during his dishwashing days. Schecter is easy to love; he is a man of expression who delivers line with a grunt and an harmonica. His half is pretty brilliant.


Boxcar Satan on the other hand hail form the less hip city of San Antonio, Texas and craft a much more focused and less rambling brand of delta blues. It’s a perfect combination really. So much so that the songs of both bands are presented intercalated and is a bit hard to tell the bands apart. Especially in the vocal department, as Boxcar Satan’s vocalist has a very similar mad ass gruff and gravel pitch.  The mood is also the same; Boxcar Satan are true pissed romantics, the likes of which hang out at dives with the hopes of catching STD’s just because getting involved with whores like those make for better stories.  I love story telling like this (“Disarray” is a personal favorite), people kiss the hip and pimply asses of The Hold Steady, they should look this way instead if their necks allow. The gritty reality is much more fun when distorted the Boxcar Satan way.

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