Red Jacket Mine - free live performance
Wednesday, April 17th 6:00 PM
What is the Seattle sound? Truth is it changes. Frequently. Garage rock reigned in the mid-'60s. Grunge exploded out of the Emerald City in the early '90s and the world is still reeling. Today, hip-hop acts like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Shabazz Palaces, and Blue Scholars rule the roost.
Red Jacket Mine sounds like none of these. Led by songwriter Lincoln Barr, this quartet proudly calls Seattle home, but you'd be hard-pressed to pinpoint the guys' area code simply by spinning their superlative new album, Someone Else's Cake.
At first blush, this batch of eleven originals seems more like a product of England in the aftermath of punk, when angry young men such as Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and Messrs. Difford and Tilbrook of Squeeze spilled out of the pubs and elbowed their way into the UK charts. But pay closer attention. Trust me, it isn't hard. Someone Else's Cake brims with melodies and lyrics that reveal new, deeper charms with repeated spins.
The follow-up to 2009′s sophomore full-length Lovers Lookout began taking shape in late 2010. In the wake of lineup changes—new bassist Matthew Cunningham had joined longtime drummer Andrew Salzman in the RJM rhythm section—the band cooked up a series of limited-edition, colored-vinyl 7-inch singles. "Listen Up (If the World Is Going to Hell)" and "Bellar & Bawl" distilled Barr's myriad influences into succinct gems designed to sit alongside any of the 45s he might stock in his own jukebox. As XTC once declared, this is pop—just not the kind that panders to the lowest common denominator.
As the singles garnered favorable press and airplay on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle, Barr's confidence increased. This sound felt truer to his aesthetic than ever, especially after the addition of Oklahoma native Daniel Walker on keys fleshed out the arrangements. More songs flowed forth, accumulating over the course of a year. "Listen Up" was composed in a post-sinus surgery painkiller haze, when its author couldn't even sing the melody. Other compositions slyly reflected the headlines; economics and politics filtered into the lyrics of "Skint City" and "Ron Nasty." So did episodes from daily life. As the 2012 election dragged on, a ranting evangelist outside Barr's office exacerbated his exhaustion with hearing everyone's opinion, inspiring the classic country-tinged "Have You Got a Permit to Preach on This Corner?"
Red Jacket Mine isn't part of the latest wave from Seattle or anywhere else. Someone Else's Cake is timeless in its sensibilities, snagging the ear with endearing melodies and lyrical barbs, then engaging the heart and mind with ideas that run deeper. If the end result sounds like an album that's already withstood the test of time… well, that's because it undoubtedly will.