Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Town Drunks: The Ballad of Stayed and Gone

The Ballad of Sayed and Gone

As any band who I have posted a show review about can attest, I snap a lot of crappy pictures with a hand me down first generation circa 1996 Sony cybershot digital camera and only after a lengthy process of post camera filters and touch ups are they somewhat acceptable for publishing. One benefit of capturing images this way is that I never have to worry about aperture, ISO, focal length and other considerations that professional photographers consider with their super sweet dSLR cameras because my cybershot's 3.1 megapixel sensor and 2x processor rendered zoom is the epitome of point an shoot, I couldn't tune those attributes if I wanted to. Backed into the corner and forced to use the shots I got in order to make my posts, I have learned a few tricks and the single most enhancing of them is what the pros call "zooming by cropping." I never adjust the zoom on my camera. It will capture the best part of the picture I am trying to freeze, I simply crop away the less interesting parts and what I want everyone to see becomes fuller, more prominent, and more purposeful. When the New Town Drunks clicked the shutter on The Ballad of Stayed and Gone the image caught a refined and polished Diane Koistinen in the act of trading the wailing vocal strength found in earlier works for a zoomed in range, tighter and more luminous. As Roberto Cofresí and the new town crew cropped away the fringe with eloquent Spanish guitar, lullaby western slide guitar riffs and 60's time capsule pop textures, the result is an album with the best parts of New Town Drunks in frame, parts fuller, more prominent, and more purposeful than before.

Fully achieving the next level in composing and producing, in The Ballad of Stayed and Gone, New Town Drunks rely on the interesting characteristics and enchanting melodies found in the crevices of the arrangement more so than the marching and anthemic calling which has ear marked their sound thus far. The album opens with "Walk" which displays these characteristics to the greatest degree. With dramatic shimmering symbol splashes, a persistently driving acoustic melody and one of the most beautifully haunting slide guitar parts you can hear this side of Nashville, "Walk" is a track that would have a fitting home as the theme music for a Tarantino shoot out. Tracks "Sofia's Lullaby" "Camilia" and "Stayed" possess a foreign quality which I'll stop short of referring to as English translated ye ye pop but I can easily picture these notes drifting across the veranda of a chateau during a wine sipping afternoon of relaxation and what ever else rich French people do at their chateaus.

Finding and singing about the human element that resonates on the street is New Town Drunks advantage however and between the consuming heartfelt ballads which surge upon this album, some space and time was still found for the amusing and whimsical New Town Drunks signature bar room chanting music and "Double Sunglasses Sunday" is a readily relatable example. This track's melding of western swing with blues softened rock steals away with a contagious foot tapping rhythm that adds texture to an album which is largely vintage in its appointments. A picture says a thousand words and one need not even listen to the song to see this picture or even draw a like example from their own memory, we've all been there and some more recent than others.

Check back soon for plenty more sub par ultra filtered images taken by me because New Town Drunks next appearance will be in Chapel Thrill at the grand opening of The Beehive Salon on June 12 at 6 PM and I'll have the cybershot working double time. If any of you pimp dSLR wielders want to give me a hand on this one the potential for actually capturing an image of a beehive in 2009 may be worth your while, I just want a frame full of high def New Town Drunks performing during their prime. --Carrboro Ninja

You may listen to select tracks and buy this album by visiting their myspace page found here: myspace

also at reverbnation: New Town Drunks

More album art
back cover
The Ballad of Sayed and Gone
The Ballad of Sayed and Gone
the piece that goes in to the toaster
The Ballad of Sayed and Gone

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