Tommy Keene is an enigma. He has one of the all time best debut records in his 6 song ep Places That Are Gone, he records perfectly crafted pop songs, he has worked with Peter Buck, Paul Westerberg and now GBV’s Robert Pollard. And somehow he’s still one of the least well known people in rock music.
Places That Are Gone was his debut release and it came out in 1984, I was very impressionable at that time and that record has marked me for life. While it contains jangly guitars and a ryhthm section to die for my main impression years later is of melancholy and lonliness (the album title alone brings me down). His followup lp created even more fans for his brand of jangle-pop. The oddly titled Songs From The Film (there was no film) cemented his place in the pantheon of great songwriters (at the time his contemporaries were Richard Barone, Chris Stamey and REM). A wildly sporadic writer it took 7 years til there was a follow to Songs….since then Tommy has recorded for Geffen and Matador and Spinart. His new record is Crashing The Ether (Eleven Thirty Records, April 4) and it picks up nicely right where he left off, like a day hasn’t passed since 1984.
Here’s the leadoff track, “Black And White New York” from Crashing The Ether. Buy it here. Look for Tommy Keene’s next record, a project with Robert Pollard called The Keene Brothers, sometime this summer.
Black And White New York
Bonus songs from Tommy Keene’s back catalog
Hanging Over My Head
—-More good news from the music blog world:
Aquarium Drunkard has amazing taste in music, that his tastes are similar to mine means I’m not doing half bad myself I guess. Justin (the guy behind Drunkard) has started a label and his inauguaral release is the solo project by Daniel Hutchins (Bloodkin, Panic). Daniel’s release comes out this fall so you can only sample his work now. But if you like it you can help him out by voting for him on Paste Magazine’s page of the 100 Best Living Songwriters.
Here’s his Graham Parker-Warren Zevon-Peter Case-flavored “Sensible Shoes”