Saturday, August 6, 2011

John Barba - Sleep on Folktale/Silencio Records

Got another single from Folktale Records in, this one from Jon Barba out of Oakland, CA. Heavy black cardstock white screened sleeve, Color lyric insert and some shots of Jon playing live. Jon used to play under the name Nicole Kidman,

Side A - "Twenty Ten", Jon has a really unusual vocal, after watching a couple of videos I feel pretty confident that there aren't any effects or tape speed manipulations happening, he's got a natural high vibrato and is going for it Calvin Jonhson style. A cheap keyboard drum rhythm starts this bedroom pop folk project, a real massive synth organ sound creates most of this melody and Jon is hardly singing, it's more of a quick stream of consciousness disjointed memory, mostly about trying to forget the year 2010. It's not the futuristic hovercar, house on mars year we were promised by popular science. Jon sounds like he's also coming to that realization that it's just another year, things are the same as they ever were, they aren't going to change very much so appreciate those little things, they're the most important. A cup of coffee, a video game.
There's a point when a bunch of electronics come in for the chorus and it borders on this 4 track Dan Deacon, or definitely Casiotone FTPA layers of forgotten unused sounds. The lyrics just barely keep up with the melody, taking in a breath as fast as possible to get that overwhelming range of emotion out on this side before the track runs out.

The B-side, "Pop Punk on CD" is another tinny cheap beat with the handclaps, I get the sense that for Jon he doesn't need much to write a song anyway, this is merely a stand in for the rhythm, he's got a lot of journal entries to get through. A lot of conflicting feelings, a lot of fucked up memories. This one is sort of a list of private jokes between friends, now they're getting to that point where it's harder to keep in touch. Lives are getting more serious and full of responsibility and who knows why you haven't hung out that much anymore. It's just not the same. Just a keyboard melody and layers of slightly distorted raw as hell vocals working out the awful realizations. It's taking me back to not having much in NY and not really caring what happened next, no plans. That and I'm listening to the audiobook of 'Get in the Van. Get out that lyric insert, you're going to want to follow along. There's elements of A A Faulty Chromosome, Why? and the Mountain Goats all wrapped up into one guy.

Get it from Folktale Records, who says:

You might remember an awkward kid from West Covina, Ca. who hid under a giant home made elephant mask and played catchy yet incredibly personal songs on his Yamaha keyboard under the moniker Nicole Kidman. Well, that kid was Jon Barba and he is back, dropping the moniker and making the move to Oakland, Ca. This record contains two new songs that are easily his best to date (and that's saying a lot). The songs on this record are more produced than his previous cassette releases but without loosing any of the warm, lo-fi character his recordings are known for. Lyricaly this record is more angsty than some of his other offerings, but the songs are catchy as hell and will likely be stuck in your head for days after listening. Record comes in a plastic sleeve with screen printed covers and comes with an insert/lyric sheet and a digital download of the songs on the record. Pressing of 330 records. Co-released with Silencio Recordings.


  1. Anonymous8:23 PM

    Do you know where I could get a copy of this? Not on vinyl?

  2. Check out the label...or send Jon an email. Nice guy.