Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adam Marsland says Hello Cleveland, Goodbye Cruel World of Commercial Music?

It appears that Adam Marsland has finally had it with trying to please the fickle music-buying public by actually recording and releasing thoughtful and appealing music for it's blissful mass consumption. At least that's my perception of an e-mail I received from Adam in late 2009 revealing that on a lark his touring band wrote and recorded his last (ever?) studio CD over one day last autumn while still out on tour. What's more, only 500 copies of  the disc were manufactured and are now being sold directly from his web site.

The resulting Hello Cleveland is a caustic poison-soaked musical postcard filled with a bunch of two-minute Ramones-like blitzkriegs with acidic lyrics to boot (see The Worst Thing That I Ever Did, A Town Called Asshole, Fuck Nihilism) and yet sprinkled with enough tasty embellishment and sing-along vocals to keep it all fresh and downright catchy. There are plenty of tunes that offer a nice contrast to the up-yours sonic blast such as the accordion foot-stomper Jolly Joe, the mellow instrumental whimsy of Flight of the Stinkbug (although I miss the juvenile fart noise that I would have tagged on at the very end fittingly marking the subject's inevitable demise) and the appropriate closer, Batesville Casket Company, a moody acoustic dirge that pretty much sums it all up rather nicely. With Hello Cleveland it's almost seems as if Marsland is daring anyone to listen, as if the opportunity to create an uproar in some heartland high school library in the near future it just too tempting to pass up. Hell, if things really get stirred up it might even land him on the front page of Yahoo for a few hours with some headline like Oklahoma School Board Ponders Blasphemous Disc...

Well, it doesn't take a psychological wunderkind to read between the lines. The man appears frustrated, disappointed, tired. And the result is a joyful outburst of pure angst-propelled rock and roll. It's therapeutic, insightful, and comically rotten.

After re-dedicating himself to a professional musician's life a few years back Marsland started fresh by releasing a very nice anthology (Daylight Kissing Night) and at a bargain price in hopes of introducing himself to a wider audience and as a way to consolidate the past while creating a solid foundation for the future. Next he wrote and recorded a double CD set (Go West) filled with a dizzying array of styles and moods that sounded both mature and contemporary. Released in the summer of 2009 I can only assume that the resulting sales were not equal to the effort invested nor the quality of the resulting product. And yet all the while the Dave Matthews party wagon still rolls on! Imagine that?

Marsland's problem appears to be that he's too honest, too uncompromising and maybe even too talented for that aforementioned blissful mass consumption. It might be said that the worst thing that he ever did, as far gaining popularity, was tell the truth.

Obviously I would suggest that after reading this you (whoever you are) immediately click on the below links and acquire some Adam Marsland music. Pick up Hello Cleveland if still available and maybe take a stab at Daylight Kissing Night. And if you've got it in you, then by all means, Go West.

note: Daylight Kissing Night is also available from Silver Moon Music for $5.95.

please ring bell