Aug 5, 2008 - Daytrotter Studio, Rock Island, IL
- 1 Tropical Island
- 2 Grandma Shirley and Papa / Salty Candy
- 3 Crackhouse Blues
- 4 Broadcast Beach / I Wanna Die
Bringing Back Tassels, Keeping Crack Relevant
Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
All that you really need to get where Adam Green is coming from is a completely distorted sense of everything. You need to be in a position where it's okay for you to say, "Fuck it, I'll concede," and then a few seconds later, just for emphasis and to make it clear that you're a willing party, again repeat, "Fuck it." The New Yorker is a caricature full of caricatures or extreme exaggerations, and yet there are no visible signs of caricature on Green's body. You feel like you should be able to go up to the youngish looking man with a deep, boat horn of a voice and pull of the rubber mask that he's wearing to finally get to his insides and the real slim shady, but there's nothing here to tug, no latex or cover-up.
He's him and that's quite the sight and sound. He's that guy who used to dress up in animal costumes while performing years ago with Kimya Dawson as The Moldy Peaches, singing their indie rock "hits" about crack cocaine and a myriad of other crack-related paraphernalia - long before wearing animal costumes was made sexy and faux pas by Gnarls Barkley. He's a guy who would probably stroll around New York City wearing furry bear claws and think nothing of the oddity and spectacle of it. Even while he had to remove one of the paws to fish his wallet out of his pocket to pay for Chinese food with his debit card would it not sink in that this wasn't normal.
What's not to love about a man who can do and get away with such a thing? He showed up on this day a few months ago, the day after he and his band's tour ended in Chicago - so he was officially off the performing clock - wearing a black shirt, with some sort of sign or warning of the Zodiac killer covering the heart, and two-foot long, white tassels dangling from elbows to wrists on both sleeves. It was not something that was slipped on to be photogenic in. He came in it and left in it, leading all to believe that this was the shirt - this thing that could poke some eyes and smart a little if gotten up to the right speed - is what he went into a few gas stations and rest areas wearing on the 16-hour drive back to New York that day.
That nerve and the complete detachment from all of the many and innumerable things that the stodgy, squeamish majority of people find to be socially gauche is what Green pours like a broken tap into the absolutely socially gauche pop songs. They are demented and wild, metropolitan and indescribable - just the right blend of pure pop formula, absurdity and derailment. There are big frat boys picking their noses, he writes what I think are serious queries to pop starlets and without a doubt and lacking any noticeable sense of irony, the guy still finds crack (maybe just the word) to be funny. He's building a catalog of albums full of related strains, messages that are passed in bottles from one wacky record to the next and consistency that is never short on chuckles and things that you can't help but find deliciously hilarious. It's all meant to be. It's Wesley Willis without so much crazy, with shit tons more musicality and then it's Steven Wright doing a Zach Galifianakis bit if Galifiankis was doing a set of Sinatra, Ricky Nelson and Randy Newman covers - however that would sound. It's Green, for the most part. Once this week, I'll bet he tried to light one of his own farts, but the difference between Green and just a regular old jackass doing that is that he finished up - success or none - and continued reading Proust or the boring parts of the New Yorker. It's high-brow, his low-brow.
Adam Green Official Site
Rough Trade Records