Jan 07, 2008

I always hold my tongue when I first get a piece of music that Todd Congelliere is involved with. Todd, most widely known for Toys That Kill and FYP, has this ability to constantly stay one step ahead of me musically. It took me awhile to warm up to all three TTK albums, but now they contain some of my favorite music of all time. I always feel like a knob talking about “songwriters”—because the first person to always flash into my mind is John Denver, smiling like a tool behind a guitar on his lap—but URTC sounds like a quieter permutation of TTK. (There are TTK fingerprints all over URTC due to Todd’s voice and the four-armed drummer Jimmy Trash behind the kit). I made this mistake last issue, insinuating that Dan Padilla was a “side project” of Tiltwheel—since the second band started after the other, yet contained overlapping members—so I’ll avoid that pitfall in this review. Introduced into the fold are Jack Blast (a super nice Pedro stalwart), and Jack Doyle (another Pedro fixture for many years, and a grade school teacher. I think this is his first band). The other result with URTC is that Bird Roughs is mainly subdued, letting the textures of songs come to the forefront; from surf guitar to the Cure-reminiscent jangling. As a matter of fact, throw in mid-and-late ‘80s Euro bands that had good ideas although I can’t say I celebrate their entire catalogs—Echo And The Bunnymen, The Church, Adam Ant—and huck ‘em in the San Pedro DIY punk perversity blender, and there you go. Bird Roughs is a weird, but comfortingly so, record that’s kinda what you’d expect from the folks involved, but not exactly. And that’s what keeps me interested.

 –todd (Recess)