Five Dollar Day
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Five Dollar Day

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The best kept secret in music


Dear Five Dollar Day: Who are you? Apparently you are someone named It Lloyd, or you may go by another name. You may at one time have been on a record label called Ill & Alice, which may or may not exist anymore (its web site doesn't). It looks like this is your fourth album. You send your record out for review and then give almost no information about yourself. There's scant to be found on your web site, either. Yet you insist on making brilliant music. What the hell?
At first, it's hard to tell where Shine Like Justice is going. It starts out with two near instrumentals. The first is "San Simeon", a rolling meadow of sound encircled by a loping warm bassline; the second is "Tying Vote", which gets away with having steel drums. "San Simeon" ends with a narrative about how ignorance of black bears is somehow disturbing. "Tying Vote" isn't really an instrumental, but its few lyrics can barely be heard over extremely distorted bass and those damn steel drums. Who cares? It's a wild composition and the best thing on the album.

After a puzzling (but entrancing) opening, Shine Like Justice reveals itself to be more of a singer/songwriter album. "Connect the Continents"'s stark, hushed tone is evocative of Red House Painters, but its weirdly inverted lyrics are all Five Dollar Day's own; Lloyd or whoever he is sings, "who cares if we never get anywhere, we care if we always go everywhere." Aided by a bright keyboard melody, "His Obituary" somehow invokes positivism from a morbid narrative. Amid cancer and suicide, it ends, "I had to laugh / None of us are made to last."

Despite being a one-man affair, Five Dollar Day sounds like a full band. On "The Morning Paper", multi-tracked vocals give the feel of Modest Mouse's barely-contained delirium. Drums are used in moderation, acting accentually rather than as a foundation. They give "Not Nyc" a lively start, then disappear for large parts of the song. They show up suddenly at the end of "Dare You to Move", in a high-speed climax reminiscent of Joy Division's "Isolation".

Shine Like Justice accomplishes a rare feat: it makes acoustic college rock sound interesting and relevant. It's clearly an experimental album, but its experiments sound unusually purposeful. An overly loud bass threatens to drown out "A Mural of Medicine", but otherwise Five Dollar Day makes gratifying use of dynamics, becoming intimate or blaring seemingly on a whim.

That said, the nameless mastermind behind Five Dollar Day seems unable -- or unwilling -- to fully put his heart on the line. His lyrics are literate and certainly expressive, comparable to Bright Eyes in their wavering delivery, but he doesn't share Conor Oberst's ability to lay it all out, warts and all. Even in "His Obituary", one of the album's most emotional songs, the vocals are curiously obscured by a vocal effect that makes the song emotionally distant enough to avoid heartbreak. Still, for all of Five Dollar Day's attempts to keep the listeners at bay, they make an emotional connection. Whoever this guy is, he won't be able to hide for much longer.

- Splendid Magazine


LP: Shine Like Justice, and Black Bears -
songs can be found on the internet ( , , ) and in streaming radio shows based out of Europe.


Feeling a bit camera shy


All songs have been written, performed, and recorded by lt lloyd. Songs seem to be conglomerations of numerous songs. Influences include Wilco, the Beatles, Radiohead, and Broken Social Scene.