display | more...

This is a gripping and excellent pedro the lion release from 2000. It's on the Suicide Squeeze record label, is release S-011 and comes in 7" vinyl and CD formats. CD version has two more tracks than the ones below, live versions of Of Up And Coming Monarchs and A Letter From A Concerned Follower. Vinyl version is still way cooler, as it comes with an illustrated kids story as part of the packaging, called A Guitar for Janie, more on that below. It was recorded solo by David Bazan on all instruments (guitar, drums, and drum machine mostly), though Trey Many is also given in the band-member credits.

A Guitar for Janie was written by Jen Buchenberger (credited as just "buchen" on the cover) and illustrated by Rob Patterson. It follows eight-year-old Janie's quest for the perfect air guitar, through a dangerous garage, past rightfully curious parents, and eventually to the dentist. It's not like there are more than ten pages of story to spoil, but I'll let it stand at that. The illustrations are nice enough, black and white photoshop goodness in sort of a lo-fi comic panel style. Design on the book was done by Ryan Kegley, who made the questionable decision of putting the illustrations at 3 inches square with the text under them, where he had the whole 7 inches of page to work with. Whatever, it all sticks together well and is a pleasant little thing to read for five minutes.

And the music. Wow. The two songs are both sparsely arranged in minor key, and catchy enough to pop up in your head again hours later. And they are so dark, darkness amplified by their combination, as to bring thunderheads to any sunny day, bring sadness to the most jaded indie kid. Yet, you can't help wanting to sing along with them, in a voice as steady and unwavering as Bazan's. Pedro the lion is magic, folks. Oh, and two songs are named for the dates on which they are set, June 18, 1976 and April 6, 2039.

As a side note, some critics have leveled the charge that the music, while good, has nothing to do with the storybook. They need to listen a little bit harder. I won't spell it out, as that wouldn't be any fun, but here's a hint from the story's dialogue:

Janie's mom looked at her, mom-stress replaced with a smile, and stated, "Did you think we'd never find out?"

Janie thought for a while. She hadn't considered that. Looking up at her mom she smiled, because her mom was smiling, and said, "Yeah, I did, I guess," and shrugged her shoulders. (...)

las lĂ­ricas:

- june 18, 1976 -

you were born in kc missouri
to a girl who wasn't married
after your birth she brought you to the nursery
kissed your head and told you not to worry
and then quietly she turned and slipped away

in the elevator her heart began to pound
to the roof top in her slippers and her gown
on the edge she took one last look around
then closed her eyes and pushed away

speeding toward the ground
through the air without a sound
so gracefully

twelve flights down nearly naked on the ground
skin and tragedy always attract a crowd
and so it was when the policeman came around
he took more than fifty eyewitness accounts
each one in awe
for they'd never seen a girl
so sad and beautiful

- april 6, 2039 -

here we have our dust-free dining set
we guarantee it won't collect a speck
freeing up the children to instead
grow into your molding
heed more of your scolding
go early to their new self making beds

seems like you'd be tired of losing face
like you'd want to put the children in their place
the more you have to tell them to do their chores
the more you run the risk of being ignored

if you're lucky they'll turn out as good as you
you tell them that they're good kids but you know it isn't true
your father drank a little
you're on liver number two

progress has a way of feigning ease
convenient new inventions bait the tease

for though it is impossible to cure
a husband bent on cheating            
             the oxygen depleting
a child who's always bragging                
                a wife's persistant nagging
we're equipped to live as though it were

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.