Friday, July 22, 2011

Refried Ice Cream :: Witness to the Storm

Refried Ice Cream :: Witness to the Storm
October 2010
Team Love

Click here to hold this.

Mango Nebula review of The People's Key.

Refried Ice Cream should now be well associated with Bright Eyes, as frontman Danny Brewer contributed the eerie and apocalyptic love espousing spoken word genesis recorrections to The People's Key. And yes, their music is just as odd and interesting. Witness to the Storm is the tenth album out by the father son Texas duo and first release on Team Love, the label started by Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Nate Krenkel. Time could be wasted trying to explain the 1970's in dimension X sound or saying that the Roky Erikson inspired style that verges on Jandek greatness, but what describes the band best is a nice little story blurb on the Team Love website that you can read below. The group is quite politically conscious as well, in their lyrics and on their website, which is like a late nineties free webpage creator disaster and is thoroughly entertaining to explore.

"It was 109 degrees on the ground the afternoon we flew into El Paso. I could see the dust rising in angry swarms from the flat restricted zones of Fort Bliss while the murder capital city out the window on the other side of the aisle was like an extremely sick and overweight sister I never had who had grown so obese she could no longer rise from the couch and dip her ankles into the Rio Grande.

I had heard from the boys in the Mystic Valley about a father/son rock band somewhere to the east of El Paso near Tornillo or Fabens. They were outsiders from another time, an old man with a Harley engine for a heart and his son with an apple pipe affixed to his lips. They had a sound that had turned off Interstate 10 somewhere around 1971 and never looked back, crushing the Texas mountain laurel and hollyhock with amphetamine laced VU riffs that drone on ad infinitum in search of buried gold and healing waters. It was under the shade of an almond tree that I finally met Refried Ice Cream.

Denny had injured his back repairing a motorcycle and his son Josh kept reiterating the importance of good health. They sipped ice water and spoke of far away things, of dimensional parasitic races and amputated feet that grew back. They had driven over from their compound that was a bastion of priceless guitar amps and discarded metal detritus, where Janis Joplin’s car and a brand new Imac shared the same plot of dust with a family of hippie lizards and a caldron of extinct moeritherium stew. Like their music, their conversation leapt from the drone of linear time to the heights where the human psyche cracks and the blue-sky floods in, from a simple government plot to control the populace, to an eternal quest for a bottle from god’s private stash.

When our time together was over my faith lay shattered and scattered among the empty beer bottles was a copy of, as Josh described, their latest series of jams, their new album, “Witness To The Storm.” The first song gave me the impression I was pinned to the underside of the engine hood of a flaming red Super Bee. Effects were catching fire and dripping from the cymbals as Denny sang in what I soon realized was his patented style of lazy cool repetitive and repeating six shooter slow draw, and then came Josh with his rants of mind control and poison in the well. After the third song I looked up and took notice that we were on the banks of the Rio Grande. George Bush’s wall was before us hot to the touch and already broken out in rust and decay. A lightening storm danced across the sky horizontally but offered no respite from the heat. Only in this climate, in these times, could music that expressed the both the power of the psychedelic landscape, the paranoia of the dying world and the glory of speed and thirst that comes from years of driving on two lanes under an enemy sun be made.

After El Paso I was never the same. I carry with me now an expression that says to other like minded outsiders and collectors of the strange and sublime, do you see what is on my face, have you heard this sound, do you know what I mean when I ask for it Refried?" -Napo K. July 2010

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