Sunday, February 5, 2012

Celebrating five years with Edgar Breau...

Before I get into a review of this Edgar Breau album, I'd like to note (since it feels like somewhat of a milestone, I guess) that this blog's now been in place for five years, which probably makes it qualify as old dirt in the blog world. I began this thing in February 2007 while writing for a music website full-time, which served as proper job and required me to begin a blog for the sake of providing external promotion of the site, through links and bibs and bobs of the like. No, I didn't start Choir Croak Out Them Goodies by choice, and yes, I was very much anti-blog at the time. I'd come out of college in 2006, desiring very much to become a proper music journalist and work my way up to editorship in the magazine world, and blogs only served to take away the credibility of music journalists, because – when it gets down to it – blogs make it so that anyone can do this exciting job for free. And if that's the case, who's going to pay a proper journalist? It's a privilege to write about music, isn't it?

So I started this blog against my will and named it after a line in Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries, and after proper job became a thing of the past, I decided to keep it going because I'd since befriended fellow music bloggers around the world and found that I actually liked blogs after all. Yes, they brought music journalism down so that it was no longer a special thing – breaking news on Twitter is a whole new issue I'd rather not get into – but with all sorts of people uploading obscure music and sharing ideas, it'd become easy to find odd mix CD fodder and read a variety of writing styles, which would never happen without blogs because, as you can imagine, most of the official music reviewers out there have come to imitate a certain style and keep up with a specific rotation of new releases. Without blogs I'd never have discovered Meursault, the Piranhas, or Little Sparrow and His Singing Steel Pan. And while Google Analytics tells me I get approximately 1000 viewers per month, which is quite a small readership in the scope of things, my hope for this blog is that I've turned at least one person onto new music each time I've made a post. If that's occurred, then I'll eventually end it and feel satisfied.

Now that I've indulged, I should move onto a release about which I'm actually quite excited, by Edgar Breau. A couple weeks back, Breau sent forward his recent solo record, Patches of Blue, and as it happens, was actually the frontman for '70s psych rock band Simply Saucer, a band I've loved for years. They were based in Ontario, Canada, and initially broke up in 1979; you might know them by the 1989 compilation Cyborgs Revisited, or more specifically, the highly Velvet Underground-influenced “Bullet Proof Nothing” (which, yes, I discovered on a blog, in my dorm room, approximately nine years ago).

As Breau wrote a couple weeks back, Simply Saucer just recorded five new songs in Detroit, which he and the band feel are among their best work. But Patches of Blue, his solo release, is nothing along the lines of Saucer's spacy analog-recorded rock, and is instead a tribute of sorts to John Fahey. As he puts it:

[T]his record isn't about me losing my love or ability to play raw electric guitar or anything like that, it's just another side of Edgar Breau, the fruit of many years of songwriting and an early obsession with John Fahey's guitar playing which ended up influencing my own open tuning, finger style compositions.”

According to his website, Patches was initially due for release in 2010 and has somehow been put off until now. Breau's voice these days is actually quite reminiscent of an aged Ray Davies, which isn't such a shabby comparison at all; “One Kind of Love” sounds a bit dated and makes the point that Breau's at his best when he's on his own with his guitar, showing off that method of playing on which he prides himself, striving to reach Fahey's approach (and heavens, Fahey had it). He sounds mildly weathered but warm and welcoming, and is a rather skilled guitarist with old-fashioned desires and range to boast. Patches is a welcome return for Breau, who might not have made this record at all, had he successfully run for office while representing the Family Coalition Party over a decade ago.

Purchase Patches of Blue after a free preview.

Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing

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