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Golden Smog (previously)


It has been eight long years since the last Golden Smog CD. Much has changed for the "alt-country supergroup" in that time. The Jayhawks went their separate ways, alt-country failed to become mainstream, and Wilco became No Depression's favorite sons--so much so that Jeff Tweedy all but bowed out of the recording process this time around. Now comprised of three former Jayhawks (Gary Louris, Kraig Jarret Johnson, and Marc Perlman) along with Soul Asylum guitarist Dan Murphy, Golden Smog has produced its most cohesive, most ironic, most eccentric album to date. Another Fine Day finds the band taking a thoroughly experimental approach to music making, employing feedback and distortion in heavy doses alongside substantial pop hooks and gorgeous vocal harmonies. The resulting CD is an eclectic collection of hard rocking songs that refuses to follow any rules, while still managing to be catchy and fun.


The opener, "You Make It Easy," features heavy guitars overlaying a piano-driven pop hook, making the tongue-in-cheek love song at once beautiful and hard-edged. The title anthem consists largely of a sublime acoustic hook and tremolo guitar and the sarcastic refrain "Woke up, can't find your direction, just another fine day." The acoustic Louris-Tweedy composition "Long Time Ago" provides one of the few tender, quiet moments on the album, with its acoustic melody and lyrics about sibling relationships. The one true songwriting collaboration on Another Fine Day, the straightforward rocker "Corvette," finds the group evoking the '80s New Wave while singing about the disillusionment of growing older and looking back on adolescent dreams. "Corvette" exemplifies Golden Smog's lyrical bent on Another Fine Day, consisting of disenchantment and hope in equal measure.

"Beautiful Mind" continues this trend, this time with feedback-enhanced delta rock instrumentation and religious imagery, while "Listen Joe" is an intricate, acoustic guitar ballad for a friend that features the ominous refrain "surprise, surprise, everyone dies." Elsewhere, "Frying Pan Eyes" is the musical equivalent of chaos, even ending in a surprising manner with footfalls and muffled discussion of the song. Murphy's cinematic "Never Felt Before," the jaunty, witty love song "I Can," and the '60s-pop-inspired "Think About Yourself" round out an album that is seemingly all over the musical map. Strangely, however, Golden Smog manages to pull disparate sounds and songs together into a seamless whole that is humorous, introspective, volatile, and euphonious. • Tracy M. Rogers

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their myspace page      losthighwayrecords.com

soulasylum.com      jayhawksfanpage.com

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