A month ago, I wrote on the Weekly's Heard Mentality music blog about the eternal rock critic's dilemma: what to do with all the free CDs a music scribe amasses during his employment? Specifically, all the local-band CDs that were given to me during my previous life as this paper's music editor. You can't sell them, for a whole slew of valid, moral reasons. You can't throw them away; all that hard plastic just can't be biodegradable. You can't mail them back—addresses change, plus that'd be kind of insulting. You shouldn't really donate them to a library or thrift store, either, because what if some methed-up singer/songwriter later stumbles across the CD he optimistically recorded a decade ago, flashes back on what his life has since become, then suicides on the spot?
In some cases, this quandary has been happily solved: I'm keeping the fuckers because the music is amazing. Such is the sitch with Peepshot, a long-gone band that dug in an alt-country vein. They made songs that stuck with you sonically and lyrically; I can't help humming their "I Love Las Vegas" every time I've been in that glittering burg, howling those lines about $20 beers that mysteriously turn into $50 ones ("Think I've seen about enough," indeed).
But Peepshot's dead, so now there's the Good Fiction. Ex-Peeps Ben Hinch and Hale Savard teamed with guitarist Shannon McMurray for Paso, a five-cut EP. Gone are most of Peepshot's endearing shitkicker elements, but they're hardly missed. With the Good Fiction, the guitars are a bit more psychedelicized, especially on "Will You Forget," which wouldn't be out of place at a jam-heavy festival such as Bonnaroo or presented as a woozy reminder to start your drinking early at your favorite open-at-6 a.m. bar. The bitchy rocker "Live With Yourself" has echoes of a Pearl Jam/Neil Young collaboration. And the title cut is a dreamy mental road trip invoking images of failure, loss and escape laced with a McMurray riff that sticks in your skull for days.
Yeah, this one's a keeper, too.
For more information, go to www.myspace.com/thegoodfiction. The Good Fiction perform with Astronaut Love Triangle and Force Field at DiPiazza's, 5205 Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461; www.dipiazzas.com. Sat., 8 p.m.
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Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and decent high-resolution photos (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to email@example.com.