07 June 2009

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard @ The Mercury Lounge, NYC, 6/05/09

A lot of heart goes a long, long way. That's essentially the conclusion you come to after seeing Jeffrey Lewis perform. His music -just a guy on a guitar with a bassist and drummer- is by no means revolutionary and yet you come away thinking you just witnessed something really special. And that's probably because you just did. There is something utterly charming about the fluid cadence of his lyrics. The words, and believe me there are a lot of them, just somersault out of his mouth with rhythmic agility, pseudo stream-of-consciousness style. Also you gotta love his stickered-out guitar.

His lo-fi folk-punk aesthetic is also visually represented with his awesome artwork. Certain song-stories are sung along as he turns the pages of his sketchbooks, abundant with comic book-like drawings. At Friday night's show (as the opening act for Art Brut) we even got an illustrated education on the history of communism in North Korea, the fifth part of an series on the the entire global history of communism. (Side note: Cartoon Kim Jong Il is so adorable!)

There was also a song about a monster who was missing a hand. Way awesome!

You should really buy his latest album 'Em Are I. I had a middle school math teacher who referred to improper fractions as Dolly Parton's, because they were top-heavy (see what he did there?). Keeping with the same lame metaphor, 'Em Are I is also a bit of a Dolly Parton album, as it's also front-loaded. The first half is absolutely killer. The second half, while no means bad, is just lesser in comparison. Enjoy my fave two tracks below, the lilting acoustic "Roll Bus Roll" and the surf-punk flavored "Broken Broken Broken Heart" which even has a bit of a 60s girl-group shuffle.

Roll Bus Roll - Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard
Broken Broken Broken Heart- Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard

Next post up: the main act itself Art Brut, photos and setlist pending.

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