Fadeaway Records is back in action and will be launching a 3XLP benefit compilation that may feature just about every single one of your favorite bands. Check out a teaser below after the jump.
Fadeaway Records (Brand New, The Movielife) Making A Comeback
by Erik van Rheenen
At first blush, Bulldozer sounds like a deceptively simple album: the straight-A honor student twin of Bubblegum, its abrasive troublemaker of a companion. Bubblegum is unhinged, chaotic, and loud. Bulldozer is signature Kevin Devine, as the singer waxes poetic over contemplative guitar chords and zephyr-swept melodies. But where Bubblegum thrives on sheer noise, it’s the intricacies — Devine’s inflections, wordplay, and bursts of inspired instrumentation — that makes Bulldozer a more challenging listen.
And maybe that’s because Bubblegum is a much more obvious album: though it doesn’t stretch all the way through the farthest reaches of the record, Bubblegum’s fervent and rampant ire is aimed mostly at wide-scope politics. When Devine attacks problems spotlighted in the public eye, he’s a deft and sharp societal commentator. But instead of gunning for a doubly political duo of albums, Devine opted to weave through his own personal politics on Bulldozer, and his navigation through yarns about himself and folks around him is just as poignant as the album’s angrier twin: it just opts to tug at different heartstrings.
The heartstrings Bulldozer pulls coalesce into a walkabout view of Devine’s life (the tour starts at the industrial corner of North 17th Street and Wythe on “Now Navigate”), snapshots captioned with the singer’s crafty witticisms. Bright-eyed and brutally honest, the narrative of “Now: Navigate” unfolds in tiers (as in levels) of carefully crafted storytelling, woven into an optimistic melody punctuated by the song’s shout-along, Walt Whitmanian refrain of “Now: navigate!”
by Erik van Rheenen
If the awful news and the sorry truth during a relatively halcyon 2003 when Kevin Devine released Make the Clocks Move was that we were definitely sinking, how metaphorically far have we sunk in 2013? The story so far: the United States stands on the brink of the fiscal cliff, the federal government shut down for longer than most functioning governments should have to, pundits are shielding their thoughts behind laptops and news cameras, and yes, we are most definitely still sinking in the deep end of should-haves and why-didn’t-we’s.
And while Kevin Devine’s standing as a politically charged songwriter (see: that time Amnesty International called “Bag of Bones” too political) is rightfully earned, I have a hard time believing that Devine’s endgame is singing about politics for politics sake. And while the backwards government landscape opens itself for opportunities to talk shit about a fiscal cliff, Devine internalizes an avalanche of sorry truths afflicting the nation on Bubblegum to write an album that’s as intensely personal as it is fueled by political fervor and frustration.
“Nobel Prize” opens with a jolt of fuzzy guitars and staccato bursts of magical realism in Devine’s scathing lyrics: the singer swaps potent predictions (“I say we razorblade the borders / Or we even take the fight to them”) with the Future, personified as a devilish oracle who makes nightly house calls to chat up Devine. From the get-go, Devine dredges up touchy subjects (drones and border policies are the Big Two) without sacrificing his medium for his message: from a sheer songwriting standpoint, “Nobel Prize” stands tall among Devine’s discography as a soft/loud dynamo.
Devine scorches through current events through Bubblegum’s first three tracks, from the embattled and dishonorably discharged Chelsea Manning to the aforementioned fiscal cliff. While there are very, very hazy shades of Rage Against the Machine here (Jesse Lacey’s production builds Bubblegum on walls of feedback), Devine’s lyrics duck and weave away from sounding like unfounded punditry. Instead of putting the government on full blast for federal problems, Devine spins “Private First Class” to force listeners to consider how they’d feel on the stand, and “Fiscal Cliff” rallies listeners to step from behind their laptops and make moves instead of succumbing to idle finger-pointing itself.