David Turbow: Gold Standard
Most likely rock's only singer/songwriter/guitarist with a Ph.D. in social ecology, the fearless leader of what this fish wrap touted as one of Orange County's 129 best bands ever (No. 56, right between Honeyslide and James Intveld) is every bit as geeky as Rivers Cuomo. Sadly, Supernovice is nowhere near as famous as Weezer, which is a shame because, as this latest solo effort proves, David Turbow is on to something much more interesting than Wonder Boy in Thick Black Frames has been lately. Thoroughly lo-fi, unslick, fuzzy, jangly and simplistic, Gold Standard will have you flashing back to the Flaming Lips, Exile in Guyville, pre-mega Beck, Supernovice's grungier days and even Neil Young. And yet it's all very modern. (Any track would have slid nicely into the Weekly's just-released The Real, Real, Real OC Mix.) Singing, programming a drum machine and playing most instruments (every song but one features Supernovice's Pasquale Talarico on bass, and producer Mark Fiori sprinkles in Pixiesque guitar riffs), Turbow builds his songs around clean acoustic strumming (borderline emo "How Moving Backwards Sounds" and "That's Just How It Is," the best of the bunch) or epic electric runs ("Rock Star Daze," "Piso Mojano" and the title track) that bring to mind Fountains of Wayne's gentle satires of overblown classic rawk that are really just excuses to flash their heavy chops. Turbow pushes the requisite sonic buttons—actually, Gold Standard is so DIY it's more like buttoning sonic buttons—to emote misgivings about fame, the singles scene and ganja-induced laziness. It wraps with remixes of "How Moving Backwards Sounds" and "That's Just How It Is" that throw in everything-but-the-kitchen-sink noise pollution; the latter tune will have you checking your speakers to make sure they're working right. (Matt Coker)
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