Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Slow Poisoner - self released
The one-man band is a dying breed. To be able tour solo, without relying on at least one other person while having the personality to pull it off night after night is an increasingly rare thing. The only other one man band I’ve ever seen who can consistently put on an amazing show is Bob Log III, who stomps on a kick drum singing into a microphone mounted inside a gas mask, playing steel guitar. The Slow Poisoner from San Francisco might just be the West coast, psycho-billy surf relative of Bob…and begs the question if playing solo drives you a little bit crazy…or you’re a solo act because you’ve been insane this whole time.
The Slow Poisoner is an olde timey voodoo magician, vaudeville act. Maniacal grinning tarot cards and black cats with shrunken heads play some part in the A-Side’s "Macabre" which is just weird enough to work. Andrew Goldfarb’s crooner-reverb vocal in a greaser denim jacket is a mix of Harry Connick Jr. and Deadbolt. There’s a warm tremolo reverb guitar springing out from the back of a cave while the vocal stays up front and direct in an eerie '50s pop rock storytelling style about “graveyards and “lakes impaled on stakes”. At first it could be written off as a bit of a put on persona, but the poison bag and pamphlets included tell the lengthy history of a musician committed to analog and the creepy death surf sound. The zombies who hang out in tiki lounges and write advice columns, (wait, that’s The Poisoner in Pork magazine) would appreciate this crazy surf psychedelic underground sound, which ends up reworking this pile of misfit genres. The recording is a lone backroom reinterpretation of those garage sounds, with a booming kick drum topped with a tambourine. Slowly strumming that delayed reverb on a hollow body Dan Electro. The vocal lives in a greaser’s rolled up cigarette and John Waters’ moustache. I hear his leg getting tired plowing through the kick but he’s his own ghost. (It’s catching.)
"The Green Chair" - I'm also a sucker for this aesthetic; purple pinstripes on parlor wallpaper, friendly green zombie’s belching rats on surfboards. It's a wild fantasy death world that deliberately avoids any kind of seriousness. Those guys building primer grey cars over in the warehouses of Williamsburg with sleeveless denim jackets and spiked helmets, have heard of The Slow Poisoner’s creepy surf. This is a slow ballad not from the live fast and die young side but a cooler head on a pike. This is Andrew channeling a dead mans curve ghost story. A scary tale to keep you awake at night.
He's got his own trading cards and line of poison doggie bags, his house is full of black velvet drapes and candelabras, this is Elvis born in the basement of the Adams family Victorian home with a guitar and one of those toy microphones with a spring in it.
Get this direct from The Slow Poisoner. Andrew at theslowpoisoner dot com. Worth it for the included ephemera alone.