The Sad Bastard Book Club
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The Sad Bastard Book Club

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk


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"Review of Collected Short Stories of Carrie Anne Crowe"

"The Collected Short Stories of Carrie Anne Crowe" by the Sad Bastard Book Club is a great example of the cover matching the contents.
I quick glance at the art for this CD gives you a clue as to what will be found inside: striking, off-kilter yet also down-home, even humble.

We don't learn much about the folks who created the music on "The Collected Short Stories of Carrie Anne Crowe", there's no names of band members or assignment of insturments listed, no hints where the work was created. No pictures of grim, hung-over looking musicians to serve as identification.

All we have is the graphic design and the short story quotes it contains.

It is both empty and full of implications, and warns us nicely of the band's music.

At its most broad the work of the Sad Bastard Book Club falls under the umbrella of Gothic Americana (not surprising given their label). But the SBBC avoids the baroque multi-instrumentaion of 16 Horsepower and in-your-face chutzpah & volume preferred by many blues based performers.

As I said the music mimics the album art in that is humble, quiet where others would be loud, minimal where others would toss in extra instruments. These are late-night, just-stumbled-home-from-the-bar basement recordings. Except the production is better than that. Not too clean, yet not intentionally, gratingly, lo-fi.
Fittingly it is also strange and dark. The tales presented on this album are both intriguing and surreal. I keep finding myself leaning toward the stereo searching for further elucidation, wondering what I've gotten myself into... hearing snippets of tales that evoke both Tom Waits at his grittiest *and* Jim Morrison at his most noir.

This is music for those who are willing to follow strangers home... whether to love them or kill them depends on the story you choose. -


The Collected Short Stories of Carrie Anne Crowe (2008)

You Gave it Your Best... Unfortunately That's Not Saying Much (2009)

Another Family Dinner at the Saturn Residence Ends in Tears (2010)

[The 2010 album has yet to be formally released, but it has been receiving consistent play on San Francisco's Pirate Cat Radio.]



The Sad Bastard Book Club began in 2004 as a banjo player trying to tame a warehouse full of hipsters in San Francisco. No amps, just a voice and a brash acoustic instrument. While stomping, strumming, and screaming a weird thing happened: they all stopped talking, sat down, and paid attention. I KNOW! Unbelievable right? Perhaps it was because of the music. Perhaps it's because the singer looked unhinged. It's unknown.

From there, an album was released called the Collected Short Stories of Carrie Anne Crowe. People who liked insanely long song titles ("Thank You Corpses! Your Help Has Been Vital in Our Efforts. We Are Sorry About the Killing You Part... We Got a Little Carried Away") liked this album. A review for the album referred to us as "the Skinny Puppy of folk music." Which even though it was meant pejoratively by the author, excited us since we were fans of Skinny Puppy and backhanded comments that actually turn out to be unintended compliments. It also got us lumped into the Gothic Americana genre of music. Like a too-small wool sweater, our fit in that category has been restrictive, uncomfortable, and leaving us itching to get out.

We are now a six-piece band. The songs have gotten heavier and more dread filled (not to be confused with dread-ful). The titles have gotten longer. The majority of the vocals have become a desperate collective group chant (which led to one audience member referring to us as sounding like a "communist folk band in Mexico"). And the old-timey sound has given way, inexplicably, to songs more suited for maracas than banjos. We apparently listened to too many Godspeed You Black Emperor, Paco de Lucia, and Alan Lomax recordings all simultaneously.