Music Reviews

Burd Early

Observatory EP

King Crab

Magnet Mountain

Western

Burd Early is not a particularly clever lyricist, nor is he distinctly sincere. The obvious musical acts to compare his Observatory EP and full-length Magnet Mountain to, Smog, Palace, The Silver Jews, and maybe 2/3rds of the Wilco oevure, usually fall into one of those two categories, often both. While Early manages to create a vocal tone that is nearly an exact facsimile of his obvious influences, the writing is just not there. I’ll be the first to admit there is an occasional catchy hook, I’ve been humming the coda to Magnet Mountain’s opening track, “Driftwood”, all day, much to my chagrin. It’s just that where Smog or Palace come from a long line of influences ranging from David Allen Coe to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Burd Early seems to only be drawing from Smog or Palace.

Magnet Mountain is the earlier and less busy of the two releases. It feels like several hours in length despite the fact that it’s impossible to fit more than one hour onto a CD. The songs are mostly specfically orchestrating for guitar and voice, though Early occasionally mixes things up by putting in what sounds like a watered-down, synthesizer version of hip-hop rhythm, like one would hear on Sesame Street. While Will Oldham writes songs about horses, sisters and loss and Bill Callahan writes songs about frustration, misanthropy, and loss with a more humourous tone, Burd Early writes songs that are at first look, rather silly. “Open up the window/turn on the fan/if you want to love baby/well you’ve got to die” is the line Early chooses to open his album with. Early managed to pick up one of the strong points of his influences, in that the mood and tone of his songs don’t necessarily match his lyrics, often creating a somewhat uncomfortable feeling.

On the Observatory EP, Burd’s allowed himself better orchestration, which steps the musical content up enough to make it a more worthy opponent of roughly the same lyrical format. Early tends to start a song with something painfully silly to listen to and is clearly trying to make that initial impression into something resonant by the end of each track. He’s not quite there yet, however. Many of these songs are dismissible as silly and often rather sloppy, and not in the endearing sense.

In his favor, Early writes some pretty addictive hooks and at very least, is pushing himself to do something beyond the singer/songwriter folk idiom. With a more active sense of instrumentation and a more relevant collection of lyrics, Early could make a very fine album.

Burd Early: http://www.burdearly.com


Recently on Ink 19...

Gasoline Lollipops

Gasoline Lollipops

Features

Gasoline Lollipops’ newest single, “Freedom Don’t Come Easy,” is today’s mother lovin’ punk rock folk anthem.

Basket Case

Basket Case

Screen Reviews

Frank Henenlotter’s gory grindhouse classic Basket Case looks as grimy as the streets of Times Square, and that is one of the film’s greatest assets. Arrow Video gives this unlikely candidate a welcome fresh release.

Jimmy Failla

Jimmy Failla

Event Reviews

Despite the Mother’s Day factor, hundreds of fervent, faithful followers still flocked to Orlando’s famed Plaza Live to catch an earlybird set from Jimmy Failla — one of the hottest names on today’s national comedy scene.

Lonnie Walker

Lonnie Walker

Features

Ink 19 readers get an early listen and look at “Cool Sparkling Water,” a new single from Lonnie Walker.

Los Lobos

Los Lobos

Event Reviews

Jeremy Glazier has a bucket list day at a Los Lobos 50th Anniversary show in Davenport, Iowa.

Always… Patsy Cline

Always… Patsy Cline

Archikulture Digest

Carl F. Gauze reviews the not-quite one-woman show, Always… Patsy Cline, based on the true story of Cline’s friendship with Louise Seger, who met the star in l961 and corresponded with Cline until her death.

Lorraine of the Lions

Lorraine of the Lions

Screen Reviews

A lady Tarzan and her gorilla have a rough time adapting to high society in Lorraine of the Lions (1925), one of four silent films on Accidentally Preserved: Volume 5, unleashed by Ben Model and Undercrank Productions, with musical scores by Jon C. Mirsalis.