CD Catbirds and Cardinals [Digipak] (CD 15790900),
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Catbirds and Cardinals [Digipak]

  • 1. Summer in Siberia
    2. Forest of Tin, The
    3. Squalor on Sunday
    4. Catbird
    5. Deep Fried Circuits
    6. I Saw the Ghost of Peter Cook
    7. Poison Pete's Holiday
    8. English Shame
    9. Crow Radio #2
    10. Drama Queens on Prozac
    11. Gnomes on the Runway
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 011

  • Credits

    Recording information: Tigergod Ink!, Durham, NC (2009).
    Dan Melchior was lo-fi way back when it was still a descriptive phrase and not a genre, and though he's done time working with Billy Childish and Holly Golightly, he's since moved on to making purposefully ragged music with a personality of its own. Catbirds and Cardinals, recorded by Melchior and his ad hoc group Das Menace, is an engaging combination of punk rock sloppiness, pure pop songcraft, post-punk smarts, lo-fi noise mongering, and a very individual sense of wit and the part it plays in contemporary rock & roll. Songs titles like "Summer in Siberia," "Drama Queens on Prozac," and "Squalor on Sunday" give you some idea of what sort of wordplay appeals to Melchior, though you have to listen to "English Shame" and "I Saw the Ghost of Peter Cook" to get the full impact of his dry wit and surprisingly elegant way with words, and his slightly brusque vocal style dovetails nicely with his lyrical perspective. Melchior's melodies are nearly as well-crafted as his words, though his approach in the studio seems at first glance to run counter to his tuneful instincts, with the overdriven vocals and guitars, fuzzy bass and keyboards, and clanky drums making this sound like it was recorded on a broken four-track in a shabby living room. However, given time, the purposefully shambolic production lends a curious charm to the performances, and adds a layer of emotional texture to songs that are clever enough to use all the heart they can get. Catbirds and Cardinals might seem like a bit like a wreck on first glance, but on closer inspection, the cluttered approach is very much deliberate, giving this the feel of a well-used living room, sloppy but comfortable and full of good conversations and provocative thought. Put up your feet and listen to Catbirds and Cardinals; given a chance, it'll make you feel right at home. ~ Mark Deming

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