the slummers
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the slummers

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
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"The Slummers “Love of the Amateur” (Blue Rose, 2010)"


Time ain’t nothing when you’re young at heart

This is an attractive proposition, Dan Stuart (Green on Red, Danny & Dusty) joining forces with JD Foster (Nancy Sinatra, Alejandro Escovedo, Marc Ribot, Richmond Fontaine, Willy Mason) and embracing a philosophy of slumming. It doesn’t mean what you might think it will mean it seeks to travel away from the prevailing cultural traffic and celebrate the amateur, engaging with desires rather than propriety.

The result of jettisoning the cultural super-ego gives them a certain amount of freedom and as if to prove it they open with ‘Rift Valley Evolutionary Blues’ which is a loose evocation of what would happen if the hair of the dog was a healthy dose of crystal meth washed down with a liberal tonic of 100% proof whilst partaking in a lecture from Captain Beefheart.

After that it settles down into more familiar patterns and Stuart is on fine form. ‘East Broadway’ has that simmering quality that imbued songs like ‘Baby Loves Her Gun’ with such emotion. Stuart has always been better when suppressing his inner bluesman. There’s a surprising amount of tenderness in these songs and Foster isn’t immune from it either. ‘All about You’ is almost gentle and loving enough to be a lullaby. This sensitive thread continues through the record ‘Finally…’ is a world away from being anything like amateurish; it is a masterclass in tightness and exposition. The Closing ‘Waiting for You’ is one of those songs that takes the listener for a walk, the lyrics narrating the geography of a relationship, the music like the heat reflecting back up from the concrete, an unexpected warmth to bask in.

The raucous Stones-like ‘Bowery Boy’ or ‘Who Knows’ don’t convince me in the same way, then again I always did edit Green on Red albums and it is the same here. I’m happy to forgo the cocktail Americana of ‘Another Manhattan’ especially when I can choose to keep the haunting acoustics of ‘Ironbound’. There’s little evidence of the Slummers sticking too closely to their stated ideology, not that it matters, there are enough moments on this record to forgive the occasional forays into the uncensored.


Date review added: Thursday, August 19, 2010
Reviewer: David Cowling
Reviewers Rating:
Related web link: Rough trade - AmericanaUK


Discography

Love of the Amateur... Blue Rose Records (Europe) May 2010

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Bio

the slummers

"Love of the Amateur" is the slummers debut record.

The band was started by Dan Stuart and JD Foster after wondering whether they could rediscover their musical innocence. Mr. Stuart was the leader of 80’s legends Green On Red and half of Danny & Dusty while Mr. Foster is a sought after producer and sideman (Calexico, Patty Griffin etc.) The album was produced by Antonio Gramentieri who along with percussionist Diego Sapignoli provided instrumental support and inspiration. The songs were written in NYC, recorded in Richmond, Virginia and mixed in Senigallia, Italy. Despite their collective artistic experience, the members insist the slummers are a club of amateurs in spirit and purpose. Gentlemen all, you can take them at their word:

let us now celebrate the amateur, pure of heart and motive, in it only for the experience. here we beckon, come slum with us, downtown and beyond, the love never stops…

Mr. Stuart and Mr. Foster co-wrote the compositions, share vocals and play guitars along with other assorted contraptions. Mr. Gramentieri and Mr. Sapignoli fill in with everything from baritone guitar to vibraphone. The record starts with the Beefheart absurdity of “Rift Valley Evolutionary Blues” and ends with the hopefully plaintive “Waiting For You”. The material runs from the Wire inspired “Bread and Water” and Keith meets Nino Rota of “Bowery Boy” to the George Jones purity of “All About You”. The most intimate and hair raising track is “Ironbound”, one take only, Foster’s vocal haunts. Mr. Gramentieri’s production touches are eclectic and sublime and suggest a distinct move away from the ho hum ghetto of alt/country Americana whatever. Bravo maestro!

Further notes regarding the slummers:

Past endeavors: Ronnie Lane, Calexico, Vinicio Capossela, Patty Griffin, Danny & Dusty, Lucinda Williams, Marc Ribot, Richmond Fontaine, Richard Buckner, Aidoru, Hugo Race, Damo Suzuki, Green on Red, Dwight Yoakam, Bobby Solo

Denizens of: NYC, Modigliana, Cesena

Previous abodes: Rome, LA, London, Austin, Madrid, Tucson, Sydney

Avocations: badminton, mathematics, dishwashing, lingerie, skiing, coffee, poetry

Never disclosed: fear of locusts, nervous breakdown, loss of spleen, pavor nocturnus