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Apr 19, 2018







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David Bazan, Care (self-released)




John Palumbo, Citizen X the EP (Lifesong Records)

Man, I vaguely, barely remember the album these reworks came from, 2006’s Citizen X. It was bare-knuckle indie rawk that crossbred ELO with Black Keys, a just-barely underproduced set of songs that came off as underground only out of the zeitgeist’s necessity — add a few more vocal layers and an analog horn section and it would have been a 1970s Top 40 slam-dunk, but left as it was, it dripped ratty record store chic. But to the elephant in the room: Why rework five songs that are over 10 years old? Well, lyrically, they’re pertinent to now, echoes of a time when progressives, liberals and half-educated cube-droids were beginning to feel like they were living in a corporate-political complex with no escape — it’s quaint now, looking back. So, toward that, has this hipster actually upfitted these old things? Well, not so much. “Dancing with the Fuhrer” retains its original Ramones/Cheap Trick feel, but actually it’s more punk, now that his voice sounds like Eddie Money after survivng a whiskey-filled afterparty. The drums and so on have been jazzed up a little, but mostly this one-off simply functions as a reminder that the original full-length was pretty freaking awesome. A — Eric W. Seager




David Bazan, Care (self-released)
CD Reviews: April 13, 2017

04/13/17
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



 The first thing you run into when Googling this 41-year-old Seattle DIY machine is a link you can follow to book him to play in your own living room. Self-sustaining artists are a special breed, well worth encouraging if their output warrants it, and to tell you the truth, it’s getting rarer for us critics to get things in our feeds that weren’t Kickstarted or whatnot. Guys like this keep going, paying their bills on their own terms somehow, even in an era of completely rampant piracy. Care is Bazan’s third LP in 10 months, if that makes the task facing do-it-yourselfers any clearer, even if the goal here isn’t just to feed his wife and kid but to progress even further from the Spoon-meets-Dylan vibe Bazan cobbled together for his first solo LP in 2011 (unless you count his prior records with Pedro the Lion, which were his doing as well). This one’s title track does show progress from his last two, if not in a technical sense; it’s a contentedly morose futurepop ballad, bloopy synths lazing underneath Bazan’s self-doubting tenor (which sounds like Chris Martin, while we’re at it). Other things shoot for the same sound but with dance grooves or 1980s synth-pop, with decent enough results. You could put this on a mix with VNV Nation and Eels, if that makes sense. B+ — Eric W. Seager






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