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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Latest 'Whatever Whatever' is Definitely Ian Adams

EXCITING NEW MATERIAL:
IAN ADAMS - STAY UP LATE (avail 6/23)

On Sunday, June 21st, the RSL Music Blog will release our 2009 Best-Of-First-Half List. Today's music project, Stay Up Late from Ian Adams, will certainly be on that hallowed list. Adams is a 15-year veteran of the Boston Music scene, having played most notably with Rock City Crimewave, but finds himself here the subject of a rock and roll baptism - of sorts. (We will be the first to say - this is transcendent "best of" level work from Adams!)


BEST OF 2009 Selection: IAN ADAMS
"the Dark Prince of Lower Allston"

A MUST HAVE: Adams' output on Stay Up Late is poetic and razor sharp while at the same time, deliberate in its pacing and ethereal in its emotional spellcasting. We hear the echoes of Boston rock heritage with a clear hint of rockabilly undertones to these 12 mesmerizing tracks. These songs are howling ballads, character stories. One such of note is "Upside Down Stars," a murderous love song in which Adams' persona talks of falling in love with a truly frightening girl ( - a vampire or werewolf perhaps?) "with upside down stars in her eyes, full of moon that illuminates the sky" but he is quick to add that the two will "rip the flesh from their bones tonight." The song works on a basic story level, but as a dark romantic piece as well. The two are set aside against the world, "the last two of our kind" a pair who find they love to drive with the lights turned off under the night sky. Subtract the murder and you could be talking about any star-crossed lovers anywhere. But with Ian Adams, you can't forget that these characters have a back story...

MUSIC & MOVEMENT: The surf-tone guitar in "Man Possessed" motivates the listener to remember the distant past: drive-ins, burger joints and classic cars. At the same time, Adams pleads his case (to any angels or demons listening) - "I got something I gotta get off of my chest!" The album is, in fact an exploration of fictitious, pulp concepts - but there's always a bridge - some common ground for us to understand the characters. "Oh, Dracula" is a fine example. Ian almost makes us feel sorry for this life-stealing creature. We are made to understand that this monster is trapped in his need and therefore worthy of understanding - if not pity... There's never been a more misunderstood or more romantic character, has there? "Hair slicked back and dressed to kill / Your lovers ride between the sheets / They bare their bare white skin to you / But all you give them is your teeth / Don't you know you that it's almost time for you to drink again?"

HORNS OF THE DEVIL: There will be those who point to this material and criticize it for being unpolished - or even primitive in its sound. I don't completely know that they are wrong - just that the style of the recording and plaintive howl from Ian Adams and his poetic darkness all work together in a special way here. Recorded with help from Eldridge Rodriguez (Midriff Records artist) the album's sound is a hybrid of both Ian's past and the same beautiful, emotive disconnect we have heard from Rodriguez's (who is best known from his work with The Beatings) phenomenal work from the last two years. [album / EP] I realize that both Adams' and Rodriguez' work will not be to everyone's taste - but there are many who will read this piece and be rewarded with a new favorite music project:

Ian Adams - Horns of the Devil
featuring Eldridge Rodriguez

Listening to Stay Up Late for this review was a real treat, each track proving its strength as an individual part of an album that works from start to finish. Interestingly, it was the last three songs of the album, "Horns of the Devil" (music and backing vocals by Rodriguez), "I Got It Bad" and "Precious Time" - that proved to be my favorites. In this case - the best did come last and on a record that's got as much going on as this one, that's definitely saying something. Available on June 23rd through Midriff Records - I Got It Bad is an RSL Best of 2009 selection and Highly Recommended. Bravo Mr. Adams.

Material to be unveiled live:

Thursday 6/18 - TT the Bears - $9

1 comment:

Ashley Willard said...

This is the show I've been waiting for all year.