Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mick Bassett and the Marthas -- Here's the Whirlwind EP

There's a lot to consider when you get a tune from Mick Bassett -- well, at least for me there's a lot I have a hard time ignoring before I get to said song.
Better than the spawn of Avril
First, he was a member of the very promising and very young Dollfaces a few years back, but then you knew that and probably have a unreleased, but distressed Dollfaces t-shirt stashed away to wear to Sterling's 80th birthday in a few years, cause that's how YOU are.

Second, he's still quite young and depending on your particular perspective that's either quite good, because what is rock n roll if not youthful or just another kick to the crotch that you've been passed by another wundkind ya' old fart.

Third, he splits his time between the east side home of his younger-youth (presumably) and Ann Arbor. That is completely unremarkable, apart from the fact that every songwriting English major (must be an English major right?) at U of M I knew in the prior century was an obnoxious twat without much to say and even less to sing (I generalize of course, but that's how I remember it).
Nice Hat
Fourth, Dutch Pink is to Tom Waits as Mick Bassett is to Dylan. This is not a remarkable observation, a keen insight or a big deal, it is just true. It's impossible to put this ep on and not hear a little bit of a young Bob -- not just because Mick sounds like Dylan (cause he does) but also because he floats, crams, clips, drags and fits his lyrics to his songs with a distinctly Dylan like cadence. Couple that with the Mick and the Marthas' folksy-blue-pop arrangements (not to distant from something you might hear from Bob's current boys in the Texas Playboys outfits) and again you're positively in fourth street territory.

In short, this should be a complete disaster. Promising teenage rockerMatthew Smith in his young hippie phase makes it to college, where pretentiousness could easily win the day. Plus, he puts he poetry to a Dylaneque cadence which should he misstep slightly will sound more Hop On Pop than Blonde on Blonde.

But by now, you've figured out I like what I hear. Bassett's melodic sense is keen and beyond his years. His piano, when accompanied by the backing band leads them through simple, but never obvious changes. His blue notes are pretty choice and hint at deeper record collection than most, a tasteful music education or at least a keen ear. Plus, there's just enough blues to this pop to keep the remaining garagers entertained.

The CD release party for this EP is January 5 at the Magic Stick, appropriately accompanied by young gunners the Satin Peaches and Anna Ash and Rachel Thomas. I've never seen Mick and the Marthas live, but this recording hints that they may share a quality that has united many of the most beloved Detroit acts from the Stooges, Mitch Ryder and (dare I say it) Deadly Tedly on to the White Stripes, Dirtbombs and (dare I say it) the Von Bondies. It is the sense that at any moment any song might fly off the handle into a flaming wreck. As this clearly isn't garage rock, perhaps that is overstated a bit, I expect the rocking will be responsible -- but after all isn't that the whole promise of a good rock band -- to play it close to the edge with more than a little feeling?

Rating: 4/5


Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home