Don’t Call Him Mr. Nice Guy

I remember being at some record store in Raonoke, Virginia and seeing Max Eider‘s Best Kisser In the World in the used bin.  I was with friends Mike and Bill who use to preach the gospel of the Jazz Butcher to the unconverted.  For some reason I had a hard time drinking the Jazz Butcher kool-aide (I’ve since converted),  but his guitarist Max Eider was aces as far as I was concerned. Back then the best Jazz Butcher songs to me were DRINK, Down the Drain, and Who Loves You Now.  Even back in those dark ages Eider’s only solo album was out of print so I snatched it up and coveted it, reveling in its breezy, cocktail jazz influenced pop.

Eider had  left the Jazz Butcher right before releasing Best Kisser on the ill-fated Big Time Records.  After that he would show up on David J’s solo albums and tours but there was no follow up to his first album until Hotel Figueroa appeared to my surprise in 2001 on another ill-fated label, Vinyl Japan.  This second solo album picked up right where he left off nearly 15 years earlier.  The Jazz Butcher, David J and Owen Jones all played on it.  Was Hotel a one-off thing or would there be more Max Eider records to follow?  That answer came six years later with Back In the Bedroom.  This one was recorded almost entirely solo with Eider relying on his laptop for the rhythm tracks.

As the years progress it seems like the wait between Max Eider decreases a half life from the last one.  It’s been only three years since Back In the Bedroom and Eider is back with his fourth album.  Disaffection was recorded in the same way as Bedroom in that he’s doing it all with his guitar and computer and a few friends for some backing vocals, harmonica and pedal steel. He’s written a couple of his best songs to date for album number four.  The first single Nice Guy harks back to My Other Life and Sensitive Touch from Best Kisser except Eider kind of snarls when he sings that he no longer gives a damn.  My other favorite from the album Can’t Touch Me Know goes for the Raking Up Leaves cocktail pop that he does so well.  My only complaint about the record is that its tempo doesn’t to vary much.  All the songs are good, they just kind of run together. I think a  couple more uptempo ones  could have made it better.  Minor complaints aside, Disaffection is my second favorite Max Eider record after Best Kisser of course.  At this trajectory, we can probably expect the next album in 18 months, and if we don’t I have faith that Eider will turn up eventually with his sensitive touch.

Mp3: Max Eider – Nice Guy (from Disaffection.  Download the single and/or buy the album at Max’s web site)

Erin Go Bragh!

It’s noon somewhere
What is St. Patrick’s day, but an excuse to tie one on? Being that we are repressed, puritanical Americans we need an excuse to drink, because if you just drink because it makes you feel good, well then you have a problem. Me, I don’t save up my drinking for Erin Go Bragh, I prefer to spread it out all year. As for these songs, I have been saving them up for just this occasion! You may notice the absence of any Pogues songs, it just seemed way too obvious.

Salad – Drink the Elixir – I’m not sure what exactly the elixir is that Marijne van der Vlugt is refering to, but I like to think it’s some kind of blue kamikaze concoction that you’ll be regretting the next morning. (from Drink Me)

Lucksmiths – Beer Nut – Out drinking with your friends, getting booted out of the pub, and then trying to get home. A typical night out put to music by the incomparable Lucksmiths. (from Happy Secret)

Los Lobos – I Got Loaded – Only if it were always like this, getting loaded and then the next morning feeling all right. Yeah, right. (from How Will the Wolf Survive?)

60ft Dolls – No. 1 Pure Alcohol – That would be grain, though not pure it’s the closest you can get without killing yourself. (from The Big Three)

Rosco Gordon – Let’s Get High – Getting drunk with your significant other, this may or may not be a good idea, but back in the 50’s I guess it was de rigueur. (from Sun Records Collection)

Camper Van Beethoven – Wasted – Punks, Surfers, Skaters, Hippies, etc. everyone does it. The Camper’s take on this Black Flag song is classic funny from Lowery’s dude-like vocals to the Jonathon Segal drunk violin. (from Telephone Free Landslide Victory

Gene – Sick Sober and Sorry – Don’t you hate it when someone tells you that you’ve had enough? Poor Gene got a raw deal because they sounded like the Smiths a little too much. Who cares when you write good songs like this, one of my favorite Gene songs and one of my favorite drinking songs for that matter. (from To See the Lights)

Jack – I was Drunk in the Underworld – This songs gives me the feeling of wondering the streets after I’ve had a few too many, when everything feels just a little weird. (from Wintercomesummer)

The Triffids – Once a Day – This cover of the Bill Anderson classic is the highlight of the Triffids’ In the Pines. I guess you don’t have a problem if you only drink once a day. (from In the Pines)

Jazz Butcher – D.R.I.N.K. -Aahhhh, Max Eider can really play the guitar, and he’s a pretty darn good singer as well. This cocktail jazzy number makes you want to umm…. drink. (from Draining the Glass)

Divine Comedy – a Drinking Song – Neil Hannon’s early records were minimalist baroque bliss. This song is perfect for any drinking occasion, and will give it a little class. (from Promenade)

Mathew Sweet – The Alcohol Talking – With excellent guitar from Richard Lloyd, this song is about the ugly drunk. I didn’t want to give you the impression that getting loaded is always fun and glam. (from Earth)

Frank Sinatra – Drinking Again – There are so many reasons to drink, and of course the best reason is when you’re feeling sorry for yourself because some dame has left you. (from The Reprise Collection)

Tom Waits – The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) – When you’re drunk it’s always someone else’s fault, and there’s always someone that’s had more than you. I always thought it was a bit odd that this song was played at the end of the Jennifer Jason Leigh film Georgia. (from Small Change)

The Fall – White Lightning – This Big Bopper classic needs no introduction. I can totally see Mark E Smith runnin’ moonshine. (from Shift-Work)