Clem Snide Shares Don’t Bring No Ladder

I’ve shared this before, but Eef Barzelay’s voice really feels like home to me; I spent so much time in the early 00s sort of obsessing over his songwriting and distinct voice. I’m grateful he’s returned with Clem Snide‘s first new album in a bit, and thus far, he’s not let me down with the singles shared from the LP. This one definitely fits the mold of that wayward Americana, using light little vocal flourishes deep in the mix to really buoy the natural melody of the track. I loved the performance from the get-go, but for me, it’s always about uncovering those little moments that live forever in your ear; that moment happens for me right at the 1.29 mark, so be sure to stop by and listen there. Forever Just Beyond is out March 27th.

Clem Snide Returns with Forever Just Beyond

There was a time in the early 00s when every mix I made included “Ice Cube” by Clem Snide; the songwriting of Eef Barzelay always felt like my own personal secret that I wanted to share with the world, so his work’s always had a special place. Out of what seems like nowhere, Clem Snide have announced Forever Just Beyond, a new record, which is mostly Barzelay with the help of heavy-hitters like Steve Avett and Mike Marsh in the studio to flesh out the songs. This one feels like some weary ballad; it felt like it was fading away from me almost before it even started with that lonely piano working behind the hearty percussion. Something in Barzelay’s voice just feels like home, however; it’s so distinct and familiar I got swept away in emotion before going back to peel away the layers like the string arrangements. This song is a delicate joy; look for the new album out March 27th via Ramseur Records/Thirsty Tiger.

Unreleased Bonus Track on New Clem Snide ReIssue

clemI’ll be honest here, and admit that I haven’t thought about Clem Snide in ages, though I put “Ice Cube” from 2001’s The Ghost of Fashion on many a mixtape. They seem like one of the bands that impacted so many, then quietly walked off the stage. Luckily, HHBTM Records is reissuing You Were a Diamond, the band’s 1998 masterpiece. The album, and the group, were one of the first group’s that really got me to refocus on the writing of lyrics; I love Eef’s wordplay in everything he’s released. There’s also a raw realness on the record, in a time before reverb and lo-fi were reintroduced as fads. It’s as honest a collection of songs as you’ll find these days, so look for the reissue on November 18th.

New Music from Frank Smith

Apparently we’re supposed to inform you that Frank Smith is actually a real band, not just the name of the singer, who is actually Aaron Sinclair.  What’s more important is that you realized that there’s a powerful sound behind the Americana-ish group, with a little bit more melodrama than your usual.  It sort of has the sound of a more fleshed out Clem Snide, but with expressive lyrics.  The group has worked hard on their new album, Nineteen, which you can get your hands on October 16th when the band play their CD release at Mohawk. Enjoy, but remember, its a band, not a man.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/01-Nineteen.mp3]

Download: Frank Smith – Nineteen [MP3]

Clem Snide @ Mohawk (5/25)

Date 5/25/10
Location Mohawk
Doors 7pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

We are always ready for another show by one of our favorite bands Clem Snide so you gotta know we’ll be in attendance for their show at Mohawk on Tuesday night.  The veteran act will be joined on the stage by The Heligoats and local artist Suzanna Choffel.  Go check this band out if you’ve yet to do so.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Clem-Snide-Denise.mp3]

Download: Clem Snide – Denise [MP3]

Clem Snide – The Meat Of Life

Rating: ★★★★☆

Clem Snide, comprised of songwriter extraordinaire Eef Barzelay and his constantly rotating cast of characters (this time surprisingly with two constants, Brendan Fitzpatrick and Ben Martin) are back with their latest release since their early 2009 release Hungry Bird, of which Barzelay described as a “loosely-conceived, post-apocalyptic fairytale”. This release is a more cohesive topic of conversation than the latter in what is no doubt their most polished and mature release to date. Hungry Bird was a collection of older tracks unearthed after being on the shelf for a few years, thus following a brief band fallout in 2008. This resulted in Barzelay touring solo and perfecting his craft. Following last year’s stop at Mohawk, the new material ensured this was to be a release I was looking forward to for some time.

Surprisingly, Clem Snide are still flying under the radar for most, which begs the question, when will they finally get the praise they deserve? Eef’s songwriting aptitude and unique nasal howl is obviously the most prominent feature throughout the album and the instrumentation is well constructed with the addition of three fellow Nashvillians Tony Crow (Piano, Organ), Roy Agee (Trombones), and Carole Rabinowitz (Cello). Clem Snide doesn’t take any massive leaps beyond Hungry Bird or End of Love for that matter; however, the band achieves a more cohesive orchestration rather than just relying on the aforementioned stellar songwriting. The addition of supplementary instrumentation is a bonus and helps add depth to otherwise vintage Barzelay vocal epiphanies and a solid rhythm from Ben Martin on the sticks.

Barzelay’s unique view on the mundane and unobserved is refreshing and invites the listener to see things from a new perspective; often seeing humor or beauty in otherwise sad or distressing situations. This forte is nothing new from Barzelay’s songwriting resume, but it is something at which he excels. The boisterous opener, ‘Wal-Mart Parking Lot’ is a good example, exclaiming that the sunset seen from there “has never been so beautiful.”

For the most part, Meat of Life is a case-study on the subtleties, unfortunate circumstances, the wonderfully surprising elements of a loving relationship and his growing frustration with relationships in general. ‘Denver’, a beautiful and disheartening ballad about a woman bearing his child and denying him attention, is heart-wrenching and proves a strong moment for Barzelay to show off his vocal chops. The addition of simple soft piano and percussion is an exemplary track leading into the raucous ‘Forgive Me, Love.’ This segues from the previous track’s misfortune into a statement of disappointment and complete repentance for even trying.

The desperation for affection is apparent with ‘Please’, stating that “when I sing it’s you I see, them other girls ain’t real to me. It’s just sometimes I hate to be alone.” ‘Anita’ finishes off the album with a strong, endearing, yet pitiful statement; a ballad with lighthearted word-play and beautiful organ/cello interludes.

Overall, this release is simple in tone and subject, but holds sentiment and perspectives unseen anywhere in the music landscape. Meat of Life is a strong release from Clem Snide and they continue to be one of our favorite live performances, as long as the crew stays together and true to form. You can catch Clem Snide once again at the Mohawk, May 25th and you can bet your ass, we’ll be there.

New Music From Clem Snide

25_clem_snide_04We’ve long made it known that we are big fans of Eef Barzelay and his indie rock outfit Clem Snide.  After a so-so release last year with Hungry Bird, the band is already back in 2010 with a new LP entitled The Meat of Life.  A few songs from the new album, including “Denise” found below, have been turning up on the interwebs over the last few days as well.  This first preview we’re bringing you shows promise of a more upbeat and poppy album as opposed to the slow burner from last year.  You can also stream the album in it’s entirety over on the 429 Records website prior to its February 23rd release date.  Nice.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Clem-Snide-Denise.mp3]

Cracker @ Mohawk (9/17)

cracker

Date 9/17/09
Location Mohawk
Doors 9pm
Tickets $13 @ Front Gate

Head out to the Mohawk on Thursday night for some solid country style rockin’ with a show featuring Cracker and old ATH fave Clem Snide.  Stick around when the headliners finish up for another show inside by locals Lemurs and Givers.  Kick off the weekend right with a night of action packed music.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Cracker-I-Could-Be-Wrong-I-Could-Be-Right.mp3]

Download: Cracker – I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right [MP3]

4/5 Clem Snide @ Mohawk

p40404161Eef Barzelay has resurrected himself; both in the studio and onstage. After a 2 year hiatus under the moniker Clem Snide, Barzelay (joined by fellow “vaudeville hoofers” Brendan Fitzpatrick on bass and Ben Martin on the drum kit) now ooze coolness.  After nearly two decades of a constantly rotating nucleus of band members ranging in sounds from post-punk to alt-country, Snide has outwardly got it right.  Follow the jump to continue reading our Clem Snide w/ Broken West at Mohawk show review. Read more

Clem Snide @ Mohawk (4/4)

25_clem_snide_04Being big fans of Eef Barzelay/Clem Snide, we’ve been looking forward to this show at Mohawk Saturday night for quite some time now.  The alt-country band will be joined by fellow ATH favorites The Broken West and opening act The HeligoatsTickets are available now for $10 or $12 at the door.  Music starts at 9pm.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/01-clem_snide-me_no.mp3]

Download: Clem Snide – Me No [MP3]

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