A Lovely Wad
The Blank Tapes
Country Western Honky Tonk Saloon Blues
(24-Track Self-Released Cd)
The Blank Tapes are essentially a one-man show operated by the ambitious Matt Adams. No kidding, either. On this 24-song, 80-minute epic (a two-record set, were these still the days of good ol' vinyl), Matt handles everything—from writing to playing—minus a few guest spots from assorted friends, family and local semi-celebs (yes, that would be Alan Siegel—a.k.a. Tex Twil's Barry Diamond—bleating away there on a saxophone). It all adds up to a strange yet scrumptious blend of acoustic guitar art-meanderings, despite whatever you make of that title—you get part travel-ogue, part campfire cookout, part intoxicated love sonnet and part late-night hoot, something that sounds like Beck, Jack Johnson, Frank Black, Jeff Tweedy and Ray Davies got together one night, smoked a ton of pot and rerecorded the Grateful Dead's American Beauty album. It's a pretty major accomplishment from a guy who's mostly strumming just a six-string the entire time, but it gets even better, because Matt isn't one of those types who sacrifices crafty lyric scribbling at the expense of musicianship. The opening track is a pretty funny, if stereotypical, dig at people who live in Newport Beach; "I'm Looking for Love" is a smart tale about schtupping married ladies as their husbands come crashing through the front door that has the feel of autobiography; and the entire CD is pockmarked with break-your-heart stunners (for some likely very suppressed reason, we found ourselves terribly moved by the line "You're making me feel like a banana peel/Just rotting on the ground"). We could undoubtedly scrawl more niceties about this album, but considering its depth and girth, the truth is that there's stuff here we wouldn't be able to uncover after four, five, even 10 spins. But yes, we do want more. We hope Matt hasn't shot the entirety of his creative wad here, though what a lovely wad it is.
The Blank Tapes perform with the Wayward Naturals and the Filthy Rich Kids at Din Din at the Bamboo Terrace, 1773 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-5550. Fri., 9:30 p.m. Call for cover. All ages. OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.
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