Secretly Good

The running joke with former Fullerton (now Seattle) resident/singer/songwriter Richard Swift is the fact that no one really gives a fuck about Richard Swift.

I mean, no one who reallymatters, at least.

And by “no one who really matters,” I mean regular fans. You know, like you.

I'll explain: Swift has toured America with bands as big as Brian Jonestown Massacre and My Morning Jacket and as ultra-hyped as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and the Walkmen, gaining a cult following—except the cultists didn't really care to share with their friends or something. He's performed at 2006's SXSW to enthusiastic, glowing reviews. Pitchfork, Q, Spin, Uncutand Filterall love the guy. Hell, MOJOgave Swift's third and latest full-length, Dressed Up for the Letdown, four stars. He's even signed to Secretly Canadian, home to other breakout artists such as Antony N the Johnsons and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. To top it off, Swift puts on a stirring live show with music that surprisingly ranges from saloon-ish, Dr. John-esque jam-y jams to sugary pop confections.

But this triumphant-but-not, failure-but-not peculiarity is something Swift is well aware of, as evidenced by Dressed Up for the Letdown.His healthily apathetic self-awareness is exemplified by “Artist N Repertoire,” in which Swift assumes the persona of the dreaded A&R man:

“Sorry, Mr. Swift, but there's no radio that likes to play the songs of your lovers' sorrow.”

“Sorry, Mr. Swift, but you're much too fat, and could I persuade you just to wear a cap?”

Not that all of Letdownreeks of hopelessly romantic self-pity. The album still features the catchy tunes that made us fall in love with Swift in the first place, such as “The Songs of National Freedom” and “Kisses for the Misses.”

So now that you're in on the not-so-secretive secret of Richard Swift, won't you please go support him and opener (and Secret Canadian labelmate) David Vandervelde at Detroit Bar Saturday?

And, yes, he's stillplaying Detroit.

Richard Swift with John Vandervelde at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; Sat., 9 p.m. $8. 21+

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