Seth
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Seth

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"Americana UK"

Review by Michael Mee

Unforgettable country, blues and more with one of the oddest lyrics ever written. I'm not wholly convinced that this album really belongs on an Americana website. In truth I'm not quite sure if there is one place that it would fit. Elements of it would be at home with the blues, other parts are country and others are just plain strange, including a spoken word performance of Spill which is both unmissable and unforgettable. The first part of the album grabs the listener by the throat and refuses to let go, Come Down with Me is a towering, gothic opening while Love Song #68749 is the first indication that Seth is a truly original artist. Not only is it musically impressive, the lyrics are on a par with any of the great singer songwriters, 'Israel and Iraq only remind me of the small of your back' will go down in the annals of great obcure lyrics. The first four songs are pretty well defined and structured even the improbably titled My Trombone's Got No Mouthpiece is built around some hard-hitting blues riffs made even more hard hitting by Seth's style of singing, a crooner he is not. He is a gritty uncompromising vocalist. It's with Below that we start to enter the twilight zone, Oasis recording in a factory is about the closest I can come to describing it. Seth was born in rural Wisconsin and moved to Chicago aged 24, maybe it's the clash of those two cultures that has influenced him, however you've still got to have the vision to get it all down and Seth is certainly not lacking in the vision department. In reality the unfathomable is only a part of Nowhere Sometimes . Tracks like Arise and Cowtown are songs that have been fleshed out by a musician who just looks at it all a little differently. - Americana UK


"The Muse's Muse"

CD REVIEW: Seth - Nowhere Sometimes
By James Grimes - 04/05/04 - 07:35 PM EST


Seth is a renaissance man of sorts, a poet, photographer, folksinger, and composer. His energy seems to come from a splintered soul and it radiates in his poetically inspired music fusion. His own label Epiglotic Records has released three CD’s, Cryin‘ Songs (2003), consumerist love poetry(2002), and his latest Nowhere Sometimes (2004)is why indie artists are the backbone of creativity in the musical world.
Seth lives in the smarter side of the pop rock and blues world, actually Chicago. His music is eclectic and his lyrics are poetry that hide in the corners of the songs and speak behind some moody Dobro, slide and electric guitar. I loved the sound of this record. It sounds as if he is sitting on a stool singing to an empty bar, flat and some times off key. Tracks like Below can grate on your nerves but they serve to keep the listener aware that Seth can play, but also has a schizophrenic side that wants you to find him challenging.

He has a wonderful manic ability with words, “Israel and Iraq only remind me of the small of your back” I love that line from the second song, Love Song #68749. The records sounds like an art project. The words and music are used sparingly and colorfully but still remain as a cohesive set of solid songs.

Nowhere Sometimes has 11 tracks, the first; Come down with me is a wonderful driving song that pulsates at the core with some with vocals and guitar shooting off to the sides. There is a spoken word track Spill, and lots of fun in between, Love Song #68749 to mention one with it's Dylan-esque title and Beatle-esque sound.

To all who love the ugliness of Tom Waits, and the mind of Terry Gillian, well somewhere in between or nowhere near, I don’t know, pick up this CD.
And to the Midwest in particular, keep this man working. - The Muse's Muse


"She Took His Breath Away"

As autobiographical an album title as you are likely to get, what lies behind is just that. Seth was a reprobate Wisconsin teenager, now all grown up after leaving for the big city of Chicago. Through these formative experiences you get his stripped down versions of Exile On Main Street, Blood On The Tracks and On The Beach. That's right, it sounds like none of these classic albums, and yet is all of these at the same time. Nowhere Sometimes will remind you of a cliff edge in a storm and an early summer morning mist. It¹s as personal as body scars, as beautiful as a smile. Of Seth’s twisted narratives none is more intense than Spill, which is read rather than sung, a tone poem with an unusual, simple backing, which pushes back my prejudice against spoken word music with its strength and feeling.

This is an album of words and music that gets better with every play, and deserves to be heard by an audience wider than the Amazon River, bigger than the surrounding rainforest!

In four words then: I love this album! - She Took His Breath Away


"Ink 19"

Nowhere Sometime
Seth

Seth Thompson seems to be a love-him-or-hate-him musician, the kind of guy who's a hit with the people who "get" him and a complete miss with the people who don't. He's the folk rock equivalent of Monty Python. Even the title of his newest disc, his third, will either amuse or irritate: Nowhere Sometimes -- sort of like Good News for People Who Love Bad News and Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere (itself an imitation of a similarly paradoxical title). Readers who find themselves irritated might want to leave off now.

The amused, however, will find a lot to enjoy on this disc. Seth has a knack for droll turns of phrase. "Living in fear/makes me want the lobe of your ear/…Israel and Iraq/only remind me of the small of your back," he sings on the sly blues number "Love Song #68749." And on "Melt": "As the snow shrinks/under the sun/then I thinks/I thinks you're the one"; also not forgetting "I need you/to be the strumpet on my codpiece" from "My Trombone's Got No Mouthpiece." And his musicianship is impressive, as he moves effortlessly from clarinet to bass to acoustic guitar to pump organ to percussion. His songwriting culls from as many genres as instruments he's able to play.

Seth's vocals jar from time to time, particularly on the high or extended notes (though this may strike some as part of his slacker charm), and there are bound to be mixed feelings about the long musical poem "Spill," which has alternating moments of inspired free verse and sloppy pretentiousness. "The tired mind is a linear mind" is an instance of the former; musing on the sexual connotations of the El's red line an instance of the latter. His lighthearted side ("Beat Poets") is often more welcome company than his earnest side ("One Last Thing," "Below"), resulting in occasional lulls. Some of his better lyrics have been paired with unforgivably repetitive songs ("Melt").

Nowhere Sometimes will not suit everyone's palate. Few albums do. But on the whole it's a fresh, considered and entertaining release, with the promise of a rollicking live show to boot. Chances are that he would hook a lot more listeners by offering a few carefully selected free tracks as MP3 on his website.

Eric J. Iannelli - Ink 19


Discography

Capillarious (2008) Nowhere Sometimes (2004) Cryin' Songs (2003) Consumerist Love Poetry (2002) Puddin Head-Electrobucket (1998) all available at CDBaby.com Nowhere Sometimes available at iTunes, towerrecords.com

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Bio

Seth was born in a muddy field in North Dakota, just after the spring thaw, when the snow was replaced by thick, black mud, ankle deep. He was born dirty and will die in the same condition, no doubt. With no TV in the house, and only sporadic electricity even if they had one, Seth and his seven brothers and sisters had to entertain themselves. So every morning at four, before going out to milk the cows, Seth would hide away in the basement playing guitar. It was a raw life, and from an early age Seth was familiar with the intricacies of living and the simplicity of dying. You can hear it in his playing, in his no-frills voice. He arrived in the city with a guitar and $25, where he met drummer Dan Gottesman and bassist Greg Nergaard. The chemistry these three have onstage was apparent from the first moment they all strapped on instruments. The music is incredible, but you can tell these guys would love playing together even if they were in a Britney Spears cover band. Seth brings together elements of Latin music, jazz, punk, funk, devo (is that a style?) with the rural, blue collar love of simple songs with guitars that sound like there's a hole in the amp speakers.