Monday, March 13, 2006

the midnight year

this is the first post from our hopeful new crony, chris. show him some love.

Does the most potent release of 2005 keep its cool as the dawn of '06 sheds light on my record-strewn bedroom window? Indeed. I'd say Hudson Bell's "When the Sun Is the Moon" (Monitor Records) is only growing in potency as I hear it in more and different locales, taking it beyond my office boombox, out of my home stereo, and bigger than my Ipod universe. I reckon my favorite surprise encounter yet with this record was last week in the warehouse at my workplace. On a particularly stressful day, on my way to the Coke machine, preoccupied with carving out a little personal space so that I could get some much needed work done, I stumble upon the album as it filled the 8000-square foot aluminum room, just as its pinnacle track "Strange Lands" was starting to build. Wow. It was one of those magical moments when you realize that a song is only growing richer as you're hearing it for the 50th time. (For me, to maintain interest in a song after a dozen listens is a rarity, and this fella is turning on me like the Misfits or Dwight Yoakam.)

San Francisco -based, yet Southern bred, Hudson Bell occupies a musical world I've loved well - most immediately reminiscent of early '90s electric guitar-based indie rock, delivered with a poetic slacker's delivery a la Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Screaming Trees and Teenage Fanclub. Like those bands, Hudson Bell makes his electric guitar heave with distorted bliss, while he sings plaintively along with it of getting stoned on a rooftop with friends and wondering where to go next with his life (as though he has a choice). There's a wonderful androgyny as the masculine guitar and the almost feminine voice form a unified whole. And it feels so fresh to rummage through this world again. Could this be the '90s resurgence begun? I don't want to make too much of the timeliness of this record, as it feels like one of those genuinely timeless ones.

Hudson Bell - Atlantis Nights
Hudson Bell - Slow Burn


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