"This hat is my most prized possesion"
Sorry for the absence. Andrea and I live in Baltimore now, a few blocks down the street from two of our best friends and the Ottobar, so you can imagine I'm happy. We're officially engaged, and I live in the land of $6 cases of Natty Boh. Life is good.
HOLY SHIT THE ELECTION IS OVER FUCKING FINALLY YAY! And the guy who might actually do a good job won out over the walking ghoul and his ignorant, lunatic sidekick. Needless to say, I got good and shitfaced and participated in a mob.
The last time I was that stumbledrunk (I am the king of segues) was when we all piled on for the Revival Tour, which was three solid hours of insanity and discrete, drunken man hugs. (To which Andrea rolled her eyes and was probably just thinking "boys will be boys" over and over.) Also, flannel. Lots and lots of flannel, and the facial hair to match. Of course Chuck Ragan and Ben Nichols and Tim Barry were amazing live, but I was surprised how much I loved the opener.
Before he stepped on stage that night in a PBR hat and a striking British accent, I had only heard the name Frank Turner and had only heard one of his songs in passing. I was bummed that the other stops on the Revival Tour were getting "name" openers. Sundowner. Tom Gabel. Austin Lucas. Who was this Frank Turner guy and why was he preventing me from seeing the Gabel tear through his new solo songs?
All of that went out the window in the space of about ten seconds as he less played his guitar than attacked it, very clearly singing with some fucking backbone and enthusiasm. And man, that cat has some pipes and knows how to write a catchy melody. I know every semi punk-related limey who goes the solo route without trying to hide their accent is going to get compared to Billy Bragg from now until the nuclear apocalypse, in this case there's actually some validity. (It doesn't hurt that Turner, like Bragg, often has a neat turn of phrase in a seemingly bottomless arsenal and an eye for insightful observation, personal or otherwise.)
I left converted and acquired a good portion of his solo material. It's not often that you come across a singer-songwriter who covers Black Flag and sings about partying with the dying. Start with "Vital Signs," one of the single best songs of this decade. If scathing indictments of the people who populate fringe subcultures (like punk) are your thing, you're going to love "Reasons Not to Be an Idiot," which while critical, does not treat its subjects with complete contempt. He treads familiar ground, but it's done with more humanity and optimism than a million howling "you're a poser!" punk and hardcore songs.
(Do not, however, go looking up his old band, Million Dead. If the name is not a dead giveaway, the group was a subpar, also-ran Refused ripoff. Frank clearly can sing, but it's in the wrong context - think Ted Leo being in Animal Crackers.)
Vital Signs - http://www.mediafire.com/?meqjdmuynme
Nashville, TN - http://www.mediafire.com/?mytmn2zmolm
Reasons Not to Be an Idiot - http://www.mediafire.com/?glywdo1dtz2
Substitute - http://www.mediafire.com/?dgmtd0nnokn