Double Coda / The Glands |
Label: New West Records
I don't know how I missed this band. When the frontman of The Glands, Ross Shapiro, died in 2016 at the age of 53, he left behind a massive cache of unfinished songs on various laptops and hard-drives in the form of Protools files. This album is the result of the remaining band-members efforts to make sure that his music didn't disappear into the digital nether. 18 years after their previous album, and like their only 2 other recordings (both are in Zookeeper), every one of these songs is a hit. This collection ought to place Shapiro firmly into the ranks of the likes of Robert Pollard & TMBG, in terms of master-craftsmanship. Like all great songs, every one of them has a familiarity that makes it feel like its always been there, just waiting for the right artist to pick it. It's unfortunate that he didn't match Pollard's prolific output, because once you've heard Double Coda a few times, the joy of discovery will eventually give way to the melancholy realization that this is all that there ever will be. Shapiro is the John Kennedy Toole of indie rock, and this is his Confederacy of Dunces.
FCCs: None, nada
RIYL: Guided by Voices, They Might Be Giants, Tom Petty, Lhasa de Sela, Big Star, Spoon, Andrew Bird, perfectly crafted pop songs, a great story.
Play: Literally anything.
My Favorites: 1,2,3,4,6,10,11,12,13,14,15, oh god, just all of it. throw a dart at it and go for it.
1 So High ***** [2:53] - Perfect. Midtempo loping growler with oo-lah-lahs and a killer fuzzed-out guitar groove. Just a perfect GBVesque little slacker anthemic pop song that makes the perfect intro to what you are about to hear. Out-Pollarding Pollard in the best way. "Everybody's making a comeback, I'll make a comeback. It can't be that hard..." My absolute favorite song of the year. Play it twice, every show.
2 Pleaser ***** [3:05] - Another perfect song. Punchy, Uptempo, All-American rocker that would feel as at home on a Tom Petty album as is would on a Pixies disc. Play this one over and over, too.
3 Electricity **** [4:20] - Slo- to midtempo They Might Be Giants-like earworm that will have you sing-songing "E-L-E-C-T-R-I-C-I-T-Y." Cool electrobeeps and noisebed. Another total winner.
4 Possibilities *** [3:31] - Sweet, strumming, breathy, driving midtempo lovesong. You're only four songs in and you're beginning to realize that this is a special songwriter.
5 Every Time I listen to a Stranger [3:19] - Midtempo pseudo-live cut with crowd SFX as it fades into a pleasant plod. Melodic beeps, piano walks and strumming guitars.
6 Todd Work *** [2:49] - Midtempo, great keyboard. Reminds me of Steely Dan a little, especially at the front end, and I mean that in the best way possible. Fades out nice for a crossfade with something else.
7 Sofa [2:28] - Punchy, Uptempo GBV flavored rocker about sleeping on the couch. Total Cars feel to the guitar solo on this one.
8 Clover [4:35] - Marching drumbeat, repetitive piano and light strumming midtempo and slightly psychedelic. The intro reminds me of Hendrix's intro to "Are You Experienced" a bit.
9 Have Your Cake *** [2:19] - Uptempo, driving beat, feedback intro, another one reminiscent of Tom Petty, especially the hook.
10 Piano Jazz ***[2:19] - Title says it all. Great lightly lilting little tune, that will remind you of Vince Guaraldi and have you seeing visions of Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang, skipping across the Quad.
11 Great Waves **** [3:57] - Fades slowly and builds to a slo to midtempo strummer, great lyrics "Every letter starts with 'Where do I begin?'" "I can only look until the very end..." Dylanesque vocals in places, layered for a chorus effect. Great song.
12 Pie **** [2:53] - Stars with a great, low, ominous guitar intro and builds to a killer midtempo punk growler. Echo vocals and attitude reminds me of The Stooges, somehow. Killer.
13 Rose ***** [3:13] - Vocals sound like Lhasa de Sela, who I believe passed the same year as Shapiro. Might not be, but this slow, mournful, lush, guitar-based beauty with string accompaniment sounds just like her, particularly when her voice is overdubbed to create a chorus. Breathtakingly beautiful.
14 Atmosphere **** [3:47] - Bouncy, uptempo pop perfection in the vein of Spoon. Great turntable scratching solo right in the middle. No shit, and it totally works. Dare you not to move.
15 Rufino Tamayo [2:07] - Midtempo droner, with great organ and lyrics. One of the lesser winners, but jeez, still better than anything else out there anywhere else.
16 A Boy Without a Head **** [4:04] - Love this one. Light, and echoing, midtempo ethereal piano heavy with great lyrical stylings. "Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you. Take it off the list of things to do..."
17 Tom Robertson *** [2:37] - Driving uptempo rocker. Very Robert Pollard.
18 Sadie Song **** [3:36] - Starts really quiet, maybe queue it at 20 seconds. Beautiful organ and vocal harmonies. Great midtemp beat. Ethereal refrains and spaceship SFX. So good.
19 Peter Acoustic *** [3:19] - Vast sounding midtempo acoustic and strings dominant melancholy rocker. It's redundant to say the lyrics are brilliant, but the lyrics are brilliant.
20 Body and Soul [3:19] - Beckish breathy airy slow strummer that reminds me of some of Jane's Addictions quieter interludes, like Summertime Rolls.
21 (A Screwed Up Way of Saying) I want You *** [3:47] - Punchy, mid-uptempo pleading lyrics. Killer guitar hooks.
22 Feelies **** [3:42] - Killer little blues riff intro, breaks into a great midtempo driving blues rocker with nods to Tom Petty & Steve Miller without being retro. Are you blown away, yet?
23 Save a Place for You [3:02] - Off-kilter Daniel Johnston-esque piano lovesong. Sweet. innocent. honest. perfect ending. Play it with Johnston's original, or Beck or WILCO's cover of "True Love Will Find You In the End."