Tagged: doo wop

Idiot Glee – Idiot Glee

a1624139790_10Psychedelic Doo-Wop Pop

Hop Hop Records – January 29th, 2016

Idiot Glee is a musician that most who are interested in Lexington music are acquainted with to some extent – Idiot Glee is the newest album, and the best, most representative yet. This self-titled release is the first release since Four, and the first released through Lexington’s Hop Hop Records since Life Without Jazz was issued close to three years back. It’s no coincidence, I think, that this album is self-titled, even if it comes more than five years, more than five albums into the Idiot Glee discography. The album captures elements of all the past releases – the songwriting of Four, the texture and ambience of The Prairie, the clarity of Life Without Jazz – and combines them all into something distinctly and simply defined as Idiot Glee. 

The album is also the most album-like of any release thus far. “Deep Warm Something” sounds much like it’s titled, easing you into the album with whirling electronic tones before giving away into an uptempo ragtime-esque piano-driven groove. With your palette effectively cleansed, “Baby (I Could Be Your Bone)” is a hazy, rich, mid-tempo, danceable tune with a catchy guitar hook and a lengthy instrumental outro. “What’s That Smell?” is a fun, nearly surfy track, and recalls some of the piano of the intro track – the instrumental breaks between verses getting noisier and more distorted as the song progresses. Slowing back down, “I Don’t Feel Right” grooves steadily as Friley offers offers one of the most personal lyrics of the album, mixed with a really gorgeous midpoint – listen closely when the psychedelic, doo-woppy wave of synthesizers, drum machines, and “why don’t I” crashes into the second half of the song. A shorter instrumental interlude, “Chinese New Year” is thoroughly reminiscent of the more ambient music found on The Prairiebut is not simply a throwaway track – it sets up the second half of the LP, while carefully keeping momentum under close control.

The album’s latter half starts out strongly with the first single, “Evergreen Psycho” – a richly produced track mixing acoustic guitar, piano, and bright keyboards as it relates the story of an evergreen tree befriending a cactus, only to steal the water it holds inside. The two tracks that follow were among the last on the album to leave an impression on me, but particularly interesting ones nonetheless. “Personal Computer Television” is orchestrated much like another track from The Prairie but with almost unsettling lyrics, like “have you ever told your brother / mom / priest / sis they’re just the same” as it simmers down to a quiet close. Friley looks to the future on “The Whip” as he sings about teaching “the kids how to write a hook,” punctuating verses with increasingly noisy guitar breaks. “Chinese New Year Reprise” settles things back down a little, leading straight into the last song. “The River” is a picture perfect ‘final track’ to an album, and a beautiful one at that – after an introduction of only piano and harmonized vocals, it bursts richly into the second half of the song and gives Idiot Glee a sense of definite closure.

All in all, this album listens all the way through better than anything Idiot Glee has put out thus far. And though it might sound familiar to those who have listened to past albums, it seems confidently the most illustrative of the sound that James Friley wants to achieve. The songs are more intimately personal than before, the orchestration is brilliant, the production is pristine, and Idiot Glee is an album absolutely representative of its maker.

Tracks I Liked: Baby (I Could Be Your Bone)!!, What’s That Smell?, I Don’t Feel Right!!!, Evergreen Psycho!!!, Personal Computer Television, The Whip!, The River!!

Join Idiot Glee, Teal Grapefruit, and Italian Beaches January 29th, 2016 for the release show at Al’s Bar.

Purchase the album, and stream it below.

Ben Southworth – January 28th, 2016 – Kenwick Place

Idiot Glee – “I Don’t Feel Right”

a1624139790_10Steady Doo-Wop Pop

November 20th, 2015 – Hop Hop Records

[Released Ahead of Upcoming LP, Idiot Glee – Out January 29th, 2016]

“I Don’t Feel Right” is the second single released by Idiot Glee in anticipation of the upcoming self-titled LP to be released next Friday. The song establishes a steady groove with only drums and guitar before a rich texture of bass and synths lead us into the verse. Lyrically, the track feels very personal, with Friley wishing that he hadn’t made his mom worry, revealing secret fears, and admitting of course “I don’t feel right.” It’s a song that becomes somehow sadder but more comfortable upon multiple listens – it’s honest, it’s exposed, but it’s confident and strong. Gorgeously produced like “Evergreen Psycho,” the sonic highlight of the song comes when the psychedelic, doo-woppy wave of synthesizers, drum machines, and “why don’t I” crashes into the second half of the song. “I Don’t Feel Right” should not only satisfy the long-time Idiot Glee fan, it should serve as a bridge and a pleasant step forward towards what’s in store on the rest of the upcoming Idiot Glee. 

You can expect Idiot Glee in its entirety next Friday, January 29th from Hop Hop Records, and make it to the release show at Al’s Bar that night at 9:00 PM.

Ben Southworth – January 20th, 2016 – Kenwick Place 

Idiot Glee – “Life Without Jazz”

830102046-1February 26th, 2013 – Hop Hop Records/Atelier Ciseaux & Bureaubureau (Vinyl Version)

Genre: Trippy, swirly post-doo wop

I’ve been looking forward to this record for a long time, and I’m sure anyone else who’s familiar with Idiot Glee has been too. Life Without Jazz, James Friley’s first release since his widely adored Paddywhack, is without a doubt worth the wait. The EP features songs that he’s played at shows – if you’re a constant audience member, these will sound familiar –but the level of polish on this album is at a whole new level than what he’s done before. Sure, much of the spectacle behind Friley’s one man act is just that – it’s a one man act. But even without attending a single show, Lexington outsiders will find themselves mesmerized by this entire album. More so than before, James has included staples of Lexington’s music scene to collaborate – Matt Duncan has a sax solo front and center on the title track, Ainsley Wagoner can be heard all over the place via background vocals, and the sax/guitar duel on “Little Berlin” (a la Duncan and Trevor Tremaine) is absolutely crazy. Rounded out by Robert Beatty’s distinct artwork and Eric Lanham’s post-production, this album is truly a product of Lexington. The atmosphere here is unparalleled – just shut your eyes and give a listen to the whole thing, you’ll know what I mean. James Friley and the folks at Hop Hop are doing it right – the product of the folks in this town is prolific and ever-improving.

Tracks I Liked: Each and every one of them – Especially Life Without Jazz and Little Berlin

Find out more:

Like Idiot Glee on FacebookFollow Idiot Glee on Twitter

Listen right now on Soundcloud

Download it from Bandcamp (next Tuesday)

– Ben Southworth