Tim Elder - albums

Fashionably Angry

Why should you buy this album, when you can buy more commercially available stuff like The Offspring and Bush? Tim Elder says "Because my lies are much more intricate, devious, and, thus, ultimately more entertaining for the mentally astute listener than most of the other formulaic, paint-by-numbers, demographically-pinpointed rubbish out there." He has a point there, and perhaps this self-effacing comment is really what separates the greats from the wanna-bes. Mixing folk and rock, the music is reminiscent of David Bowie and Mick Jagger, mostly due to the presence of Tim's strong voice. There's some cool guitar "shredding" work at times, and the urgency in the music and lyrics comes through even with the programmed drums. Tim is a true DiYer; he wrote all the songs, plays all the instruments, and produced the whole thing on his own. It's always heart-warming for me to see someone compete against the machine in this manner. However, the most grandiose aspect of this effort is in the lyrics, which serve to make some excellent social commentary.

House of Usher - The Healing Power of Oblivion

This is Tim Elder incognito, and again it's mostly a DiY effort. However, it's vastly different from his latest effort Fashionably Angry. In retrospect, I realise I should have reviewed this album first and then written the review for Fashionably Angry, but c'est la vie. In any case, this is the kind of music that really appeals to me---it's daring, adventurous, bold, and it goes where no one has gone before. Here the lyrics (which could be characterised as anything from misanthropic to enlightened) are far more effective, even though they're sometimes obscured by the processing (hey, that's what lyric sheets are for, right?), since the nature of music complements it well. Relying mostly on a drum machine for his rhythm section, Tim doesn't let that stop him from creating beautiful noise. In fact, I think there's a nice contrast set up when you pit the steady and unwavering beat of a drum machine to chaotic and erratic cacophony. Tim does a great job on this tape that a lot of it is actually enjoyable listening (after you listen to it a few times, of course).

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org