I must admit that Jeffrey Lewis first grabbed my attention because of his involvement with the AFNY (anti-folk new york) movement, mostly carried out by one of my favourite bands of the moment, the Moldy Peaches. I hadn't really heard any of the songs, so buying the album just like that was a shot in the dark. But it was worth it... Besides being a talented cartoonist (as you can see from the cd's cover), Jeffrey Lewis is one of the most brilliant songwriters to emerge in the last years.....Starting with a report of a nightly stroll through NY's 23rd street and the encounter with a fellow Leonard Cohen fan, the subsequent references to the events sung by Cohen which had took place in that very same hotel, and ending with a farewell and with the thought that "All around the world there may be folks singing tunes/ For the love of other folks that they barely knew/ And it put a smile on my face, yes it did/ And let me tell you , you ought to be smiling too/ Because the next time you’re felling kind of lonesome and blue/ Just think that someone somewhere might be singing 'bout you", this track has captivated me. The rest of the album is quite surprising(especially "Seattle", "The Last Time I did Acid.." and "Springtime"). A must for anti-folk lovers, and a strong bet for the rest of you who are looking for good music.
Hi, firstly let me tell you how I discovered Jeffrey Lewis. I read a review for a radio show that he was appearing on, and though I missed the show (Really wish I hadn't now) I found the review intriguing, so tried to download a song or two of his to hear what he sounded like... I downloaded Chelsea Hotel...song, and thought it was really sweet and pretty much up my street (believe me; the title is misleading!) and so ended up getting the album on here. When I first played it I was a little taken back by the home-made sound it has, but after listening to it a few more times realised it totally fits the character of the tracks, and I wouldn't have it any other way! The "live" feeling of it is interesting and his lyrics are honest and sincere... this album is a great mix of acoustic-picky hum-a-long songs to loud strummers. Unfortunately I don't think what I've said here has given it true justice, but basically, I totally love this album, before long I knew every word, and I love every track on it. Just buy it okay!! You woooon't regret it. It's also good I think if you are secretly romantic at heart.
Great stuff. How this 'anti-folk' label started Im never sure of, I dont care if its folk / anti folk or whatever, but this is good stuff. Many people have been likened to a new BobDylan etc in the past , but they are generally soundalikes who sing over wordy songs.They miss the point. Jeffrey Lewis is more of a contender than most as he does what he wants and moves in a direction he chooses. It has that ' Greenwich village' feel that anyone wanting something truly cutting edge will love. Ive seen him play 3 times and its a great experiance too. If you havent got any Jeffrey, get this, now.
Yep, I stumbled across this album by mistake or good fortune depending on your politics. Lyrically this is outstanding and very very funny. The production is similar to early Palace Brothers cira "You will miss me when I burn", superbly stark, possibly recorded on the likes of an old Aiwa tape-recorder giving a poignant and warm/personal feel. One can't but infer that Jeff Lewis is an exceptionally talented and bright guy. Buy this album - it is great!
I "discovered" Jeffrey Lewis as he is appearing with Nina Nastasia on the Twisted Folk tour in the UK. Having bought tickets to see Nina, I thought I had better listen to some of Jeffrey's music in advance. I listened to a couple of clips on Amazon, and was so captivated that I bought both this album and "City and Eastern Songs".
In my view, this works a lot better than "City & Eastern Songs" - it is altogether more coherent. There is hardly a duff track on the whole album - in my view "Springtime" is the weakest link which is a shame as it goes on for over 9 minutes on an album of just 40 minutes. But don't let that discourage you, the other tracks are well worth the purchase price. Jeffrey's lyrics have a sense of pathos, humour and honesty with which most of us can probably empathise, or at least make us smile.
Go and buy this - you won't be disappointed! I am not quite sure what the term "anti folk" means, but it kind of makes sense when you hear this album. I now can't wait to see him live - I'm probably looking forward to seeing him more than Nina now!
The anti-folk movement in New York, home to The Moldy Peaches amongst others, has given birth now to Jeffrey Lewis who, despite the name of the movement, is aligned more to the realms of folk than anything else. Folk, that is, with a modern twist. Whereas many old-school folk singers may want to sing about peace, revolution or love, Lewis is more likely to be found singing about getting head in a Chelsea hotel or a severely bad acid trip. This is certainly a fresh take on a time-honoured tradition of spoken-word, humorous folk songs. Arno Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" is one of the best this reviewer has heard. What impresses most about Lewis, though, is quite how funny he is. The continuing theme of self-loathing is taken to such an extreme throughout that it is difficult not to be amused at how low this man is. "The East River" kicks the album off with Lewis relating how if he had a girl they would eventually find someone better and he would end up jumping, and rotting, in the river. "Seattle", probably the finest outright song on the album, continues the theme with Lewis always wanting to get somewhere to make him "feel his life has begun". Within this he confesses that he is a glass half-full kind of guy, except that the glass is "half-full of nothingness". Other highlights include "The Last Time I Took Acid I Went Insane", a description of what sounds like the most hellacious bad trip in history. Full of hilarious one-liners such as "the second rule of LSD is the roof-top is not a good place to be" and "Grim punched a cat in the head, 'he could read my thoughts', that's what he said". Certainly the funniest track on the album with a hectic, dysfunctional guitar riff to pot. The album is let-down at points by truly terrible production, not something that inhibits most of the album, but tracks such as "Another Girl" take it to extremes where listening almost becomes painful. Generally, though, this is a fine album that unexpectedly charms you in spite of itself. Lewis says in "Life" 'songs are just things to waste your time'. Indeed, but it certainly isn't a waste listening to the finer points of this.
Afraid I have to dispute the arguement posted below lambasting the production on this album. Lo-fi production does not equal bad production. It is the style of the genre, a highly polished finish would seem out of place and frankly just sound wrong. The production matches the songs.