Thursday, August 25, 2005

owsley by owsley

whilst perusing the pop music section a few years ago i stumbled upon a review of the first 'owsley' record. i listened to a few of the samples, proceeded to plonk down the needed funds then waited patiently for the mailman. i don't think i have ever been luckier taking a shot on something i had never heard. the album is a blast, from the crunching guitars opening 'oh no the radio' the record flows like a powerpop powerhouse. the smart, precise beatlesque songwriting, the semi-lush-demo-like production (which earned the cd a grammy nod in '99 for its brilliant sound), bang on harmonies; the whole thing reeks of some lost powerpop l.p. from the 70's. hints of big star, cheap trick, todd rundgren, jellyfish and the db's litter the disc. and the cover is also wonderful, the shot of an aspiring pete townsend wanna-be jumping at least 5 feet in the air, barefoot, legs splayed and arms flailing the guitar. it sums up the energy and feel of what you are about to hear.

it seems the guy will owsley, whom the band is named for, is quite interesting as well. he is a relative of the infamous owsley stanley, (the maker of acid for most of the '60s west coast rock-n-roll scene and immortilized in the steely dan song, 'kid charlemange'), was in a band called the semantics, which also boasted a drummer(?) named ben folds, (the one and only semantics cd 'powerbill' was ditched by geffen records in '93 just days before release and later born again, briefly, in japan. it is one of the hardest records i have ever tried to aquire), and he also played guitar for shania twain and amy grant for awhile, (don't let that put you off tho, owsley is anything but what that shite is).

the second cd, 'the hard way', isn't as snappy as 'owsley', but it's a very good pop record, very much a mature sound compared to the debut, just not as good overall in a pop way.
'owsley' still takes up a great deal of time in the player at work, at home and at play, (s.a. will leave this on repeat in her car for days at a time).
as usual, like most of the shit i love, this is out-of-print now, altho it can still be had, used, on for only $2.50, and what a fuckin' bargain it is too!

and a few pieces of pop bric-a-brac from the 'owsley' debut in mp3 (via yousendit):
oh no the radio
coming up roses
i'm alright

now go buy owsley!


Blogger J. Marquis said...

Sleepy, you are a warehouse of rock 'n roll information! I had no idea Kid Charlemagne was about that guy.

7:39 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

ha, i like that, a warehouse of information ... more like a wreckroom of trivia. glad to broaden your musical horizons. now you can use this little bit of innuendo to impress workmates and relatives at social gatherings or what not.
thanks j-man!

9:43 PM CDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

owsley & the odds are/were like two of the most underrated power poppers around.

1:29 AM CDT  
Blogger Snave said...

I have heard a couple of Owsley cuts on Magnet magazine's sampler CDs, and he sounds pretty good. Like J. Marquis, I never knew what Kid Charlemagne was about, and now the song makes more sense for me! Thanks!! Becker and Fagan are geniuses...

9:44 PM CDT  

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