Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Brendan Kiefer
Despite the dozen songs on Jeffrey Lewis' new record 12 Crass Songs not being his own, he fights using them. They enable him to boil his waters, to unhinge the top of his head and let the steam out like a warring kettle. He might do that otherwise, on his own, no matter what, but they allow him to do this with ease. Channeling the English punk band, Lewis hails the injustice bunnies and beats on them with a wooden baseball bat. He chastises the living dead who march off to their mindless jobs, never thinking about what they're doing it all for or who they're doing it all for and demands that fair play not be a luxurious sweepstakes without a winner. He of the anti-folk movement -- as the Vanity Fair and other publications with fragrance inserts would call it - Lewis clamors around with his indignation and ire, rumbling and getting funny with them. With his buddy Kimya Dawson finding a resurrection (or a new appreciation is more like it) thanks to Diablo Cody's splendid "Juno" and the equally great soundtrack, Lewis too deserves to share that acclaim as another of those thinkers who are feelers dealing with the shit hands that get dealt over and over. Flowing with vitriol, 12 Crass Songs is Lewis making a statement that everyone is owed a life worth living. The reading that he delivers here is a rumination on the 1916 murder of Grigori Rasputin. The difficult poisoning finally works and the power over the Tsar ends for the mystic. Read from Robert Goldston's 1966 book, The Russian Revolution.
"Jeffrey Lewis Official Site":http://www.thejeffreylewissite.com
"Rough Trade Records":http://www.roughtraderecords.com