In Europe I guess the new release from Jeffrey Lewis is old news. But Rough Trade America just decided to release this NYC anti-folk star’s record City and Eastern Songs. Artistically Jeffrey is a split personality spending time and working in both the visual arts and in music (actually in both mediums at the same time when he sings along with his comics). He’s still an outsider artist even when that term no longer has as much meaning since the dominant culture is killing off all truly submersive artists with it’s incessant and virulent capitalistic practices (ie the Walmartization of America).
The song below is not for casual listening. It raises many of the questions being raised by blogs about indie culture; like what it means to be a success, how does that effect the music, how long should an artist struggle to achieve what degree of success, if successful how do we deal with the inevitable backlash and finally the temporary (inferior?) nature of modern music vs. the permanence (and superiority) of music from the preceding rock generation – Dylan, The Stones, Neil Young etc). Here’s a song that somehow answers some of those questions and manages to name drops Camus, Dylan, Milton, Ginsburg and of course Will Oldham (and even turns that last encounter into a violent-homosexual-rape-fantasy).
Here’s Jeffrey Lewis and his brother and the video for the song “Posters” (also from City and Eastern Songs)
Finally a You Tube performance of “As I Wandered `Cross The Land” performed on the streets of Paris