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I Know Your Troubles Been Long

Bar None

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mike and A.J. Mogis and their Presto! Studios, where the dynamic duo has recorded some of the best music to come out of Nebraska. Period.

That said, this is the third recent "home tape" project by a Saddle Creek-related artist that has surpassed what they've done in a more formal studio environment. The first example is the Bright Eyes / Britt Daniel 4-song split EP, Home, recorded in Conor Oberst's basement. I prefer those tracks over both artists' last, fancy full-length endeavors. Next is the new Criteria CD En garde lean and lovingly recorded with lap-top equipment in frontman Stephen Pedersen's home.

Now along comes this Mayday CD recorded (according to the one-sheet) on analog 8-track in various living rooms around Omaha. Yes, it sounds hissier and less prof than the band's Saddle Creek debut, Old Blood. But it also sports more soulful, earthier songwriting and performances.

Ted Stevens, whose voice is a reedy, rustic reincarnation of David Byrne's, has never sounded so relaxed and natural, as if he's relieved that no one was peeking over his shoulder during the recording sessions. It's that free-wheeling style that makes this one so damn satisfying. Along with the most tuneful melodies I've heard from Stevens since Polecat.

Also available on vinyl from Greyday Productions.

back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted July 14, 2003. Copyright 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Rating: Yes

Obligatory pull-quote: "It's that free-wheeling style that makes this one so damn satisfying."