The Rich Girls Are Weeping

28 April 2006

You've got a nerve to be callin' my number. I was waxing nostalgic in the shower this morning, thinking about how I noticed on the Coachella schedule (not like we care what a bunch of INSANE people are doing in the desert this weekend) that UK buzzband (And friends-of-friends -- no really! We're stoked!) The Duke Spirit are playing after The Walkmen tomorrow afternoon. I was also trying to puzzle out why people are so down on "Louisiana," the advance track from the new Walkmen album due out in June. I think it's quite brilliant, actually -- it makes me think of The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," only in reverse. But then again, I'm all for mariachi horns whenever possible. (BTW, do we thank Calexico for the TJ brass resurgence in indie rock lately? See also Tilly and the Wall's "Bad Education.")

The Walkmen -- Louisiana
Tilly and the Wall -- Bad Education

Anyway, all these thoughts came together cohesively (I know, a miracle, right?) as I was putting on my makeup this morning with fond, fond memories of Jonathan Fire Eater. (Cut to: three aged hipster girls driving to a hipster bar in Dallas after the Bloc Party show last summer squealing with unparalleled joy over the nostalgia factor at a passing mention of the band in a conversation) Remember Jonathan Fire Eater arrived a little too early for that garage rock revival party of 2001-2002 and were the loathsome, over-hyped, well-dressed NYC band with a drug problem? The only over-hyped one? This was 1995 to 1997, people, the analog hype machine could barely handle one buzz band at a time and I was very, very square -- looking back, it was kind of amazing that I heard about them at all. Sorry to be so faux-crochety, but when you've been indie rockin' (apologies to Common Rotation) as long as I have, it's hard not to kick back and have good laugh sometimes at the weekly glut of sub-par overhyped buzz bands that are the reality of independent music in 2006. Which is exactly what I did, I had a very good laugh and totally messed up my lipliner. It was worth it, though.

Jonathan Fire Eater -- The Silver Surfer
Jonathan Fire Eater -- The Public Hanging of a Movie Star
Jonathan Fire Eater -- The Search For Cherry Red
Jonathan Fire Eater -- When The Curtain Calls For You

I hate to keep refering back to Kelefa Sanneh's article about Ranier Maria, but he did have a point -- the Internet is perfect to pitch a band with no history -- it's less so for bands with a storied past. Case in point: The Walkmen. A few of them have been in bands together since high school. They have a studio. They're old, crusty, and not enough of a comeback story, they're riding too high from Bows + Arrows. In short, it's time for the blogger backlash, or so it seems.

If we think back to 2004 -- come with me, think back, it's really not hard -- all the blogger kids were screaming over The Walkmen's Bows and Arrows, and for good reason, it's a fantastic album full of the naked male pain we love so much over here at TRGAW (Seriously, how brilliantly angry is "The Rat?" And "House of Little Savages?"). Bows and Arrows is one pissy album, but it's also painfully resigned -- resigned to growing older and being edged out of the scene -- then again, that's kind of been The Walkmen's M.O. all along -- surely I don't need to remind you of Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone, and more specifically, "We've Been Had," do I? Good.

The Walkmen -- The Rat
The Walkmen -- Look Out the Window
The Walkmen -- We've Been Had
The Walkmen -- Pictures of Us
The Walkmen -- House of Little Savages (repost)

I mean, these guys have been there and done that -- well, the three core members of The Walkmen who survived Jonathan Fire Eater's wild ride anyway: Paul Maroon, Matt Barrick, and Walter Martin -- and came out the other end with that awesome farfisa action, Mo Tucker-via-David Lovering drumming, and the most angular guitar action in A-list indie rock still intact. They were joined by new frontman Hamilton Leithauser and bassist Peter Bauer of the similarly melted-down buzz act The Recoys, and thus The Walkmen were born. (Former JFE frontman Stewart Lupton has resurfaced with his new project The Child Ballads in late 2005, opening for The Fiery Furnaces and Interpol, but there's no website or myspace page or anything, so...yeah.)

So, there wasn't much of a point here but to shout about Instahype (tm) for a paragraph or two and post some Jonathan Fire Eater songs. And you fickle tastemakers, hear me now -- I'm waiting with baited breath for my advance of A Hundred Miles Off -- not to mention the fabled whole-album cover of Harry Nillson and John Lennon's Pussycats, also said to be out later this year.

Oh, wait, I nearly forgot. The other half of the germination for this post was actually the fact that I unearthed The Walkmen/Calla split EP from 2002 and wanted to share Calla's Can cover with ya'lls. Because somehow, in my mind, the horns on "Louisiana" got me thinking about mariachis and South Texas and that inevitably makes me think of Calla...

Calla -- Mother Sky (Can cover)

BTW, if you're in NYC tonight (as we wish we were), Calla frontman Aurelio Valle DJs at Corner Billards -- go see him after you catch darling John Vanderslice, The Fruit Bats, Bishop Allen, or Nous Non Plus -- you lucky kids! We might try to catch My Education and Cue here in town tonight at the Blue Theater.

And, just because we love you if you've read this far down -- here's a jaunty, thought-provoking b-side from Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins.

Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins -- Fireplace

Have a great weekend!


Blogger Pinkie von Bloom said...

Dude. Don't ever mention mariachi to Aurelio. Ever again. Not after last time. It's funny how he totally shut down when you said the T-word. (You know...the one with the J in the middle that isn't "Tijuana.") God, he's so...sweet.

Friday, April 28, 2006 6:05:00 PM  
Blogger kathryn said...

I specifically blame Calexico's collaboration with Iron & Wine, which caused a lots of folks to give the Calexicos another look (or in many cases, a first look).

Are TDS and the Walkmen on "tour"? I remember when the Walkmen played some silly free NYC show a week or so ago (sponsored by a new Honda car!) The Duke Spirit opened.

I'm still waiting for your two page essay on insta-hype and the hall of mirrors of the mp3blog world, Missy.

As for tonight, I'm having a helluva of a time deciding which show to attend in NYC. Luckily, I caught JV last night.

Friday, April 28, 2006 7:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, I too have fond memories of Jonathan Fire*Eater. I was the only person I knew in Manchester that was into them and I saw them, on my own, at about 11am on the Friday morning at Glastonbury in 1997. In fact, they were the first band I saw at a festival.

Anyway, Stewart Lupton was fucked up! He was staggering all over, forgetting lyrics, throwing pound coins into the rapidly dispersing crowd, which wasn't all that big to begin with. Paul Maroon was fucking angry with him and Matt Barrick just kept laughing at him and missing out drum fills. Happy times.

Coincidentally, I am going to see The Walkmen on wednesday in Manchester. Thank you for making me go all misty-eyed and nostalgic at the thought of JF*E.

Saturday, April 29, 2006 7:18:00 AM  
Blogger Andy Fenwick said...

Another fond Fire-eater memory: 1995 (thassright - 'she gave me lemonade'-era) at the Black Cat in DC, when 14th Street was still a crap-shoot with God, safety-wise, we saw them open for someone I've already forgotten (The Warmers? Maybe) and they were sober, itchy, and polite enough to receive accolades afterward; Lupton done up in a red courdoroy leisure suit and leather garbageman gloves; painfully young and stupendous. I nearly robbed the record stores of the EPs, and then their maj-label debut almost killed a pedestrian --I hurled out my window that hard. Walkmen mollify me enough, thanks for the preview and review.

Monday, May 01, 2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

i honestly love you

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 8:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This song by the Child Ballads is supposed to be released as a single on Loog Records sometime soon. But they were saying that six months ago. It's very wonderful stuff, I hope there's more where this came from. They did have a Web site (, but it recently disappeared. I saw JF*E at the Black Cat at least four times, maybe more. At least once was w/the Recoys, Hamilton's high school (?) band.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 1:29:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

kathryn: of course! EVERYTHING IS SAM BEAM'S FAULT. clearly. and yeah, TDS and The Walkmen are on tour, or something, but I guess they were just victims of wonky Coachella scheduling or something. And don't worry, Instahype is coming. Maybe I need to try and sell that to a real publication or something.

joe: well heck, i love you too, sweetie. even though we've just met. (;

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 2:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Hundred Miles Off in its entirety.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 2:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Can you re-up Mother Sky(can cover)??

Sunday, September 21, 2008 4:14:00 PM  

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