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 – 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]

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]

Clem Snide – Hungry Bird

clemRating: ★★★☆☆

Eef Barzelay had promised us long ago that his days with Clem Snide were well over, which was odd, seeing as he was the primary musician behind the band’s music.  But, here we are again with Clem Snide’s newest album, Hungry Bird.

Barzelay is one of those singers who has a very distinctive voice.  It’s somewhat near the nasal region, yet in an endearing way.  This quality in his voice makes you immediately familiar with him as a frontman, and it draws you in closer to the group; it is meant to draw you in closer to the lyrics.

As in the past, Barzelay weaves his lyrics around the most mundane of things, though this time around, there is less of a childishness to the entirety of the lyrics.  Well, childish is probably not the word to use, so let’s use wit in this case.  Seemingly, he’s thrown these lyrical concepts a little bit away from the group, which inevitably bring a more serious tone to the album as a whole.  It’s a different approach for the group, one that might lead long-time fans through a period of adjustment.

A serious tone has been established through the vocal and lyrical element, which really sets the mood for the listener.  The band, always lumped into post-country genres, has never been one to fiercely pick up the pace, but it seems here they definitely slow the tempo all the way down.  Take “Hum,” for example, a slowly sprawling song, ending with a seeming crescendo of ferocity, but pulled back just in time for the band to hone that slowdown hoedown that covers the album.

Most will appreciate this album’s gentleness, as the level of intimacy achieved here is one that will bond with listeners.  The quietude of the mood is soothing, and it forces you to pay attention to every little aspect of the album.  Strong production allows you to see those littlest details, as the band has filled out all possible areas of their sound.  It’s almost as if its a late slocore album, shedding the walls of country tinge away as they created, and ultimately finished this album.

Long time fans will surely be glad to have this band back together, working to create that soft edge of country sound that many people lovingly dote upon.  While it may not be the best of the group, songs such as “Burn the Light” will surely show that Clem Snide is still a strong force to be reckoned with, now, and in the future.

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

Eef Barzelay On Daytrotter

So maybe just maybe we talk about the Daytrotter website too much, but we’ll keep posting about ’em as long as they keep bringing us gems like this.  For the second exceptional live set this week, we get Clem Snide front man Eef Barzelay.  Eef performs two songs from his recent release Lose Big and two other previously unreleased tracks.  Download MP3s of the performance now.  Thanks again Daytrotter, you’re cool.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/eefbarzelay2_daytrottersession_1.mp3]

Download: Eef Barzelay – Make Another Tree(live on daytrotter) [MP3]

Eef Barzelay @ Mohawk (6/18)

Eef Barzelay, alt-country great and lead singer of Clem Snide will be playing Mohawk on Wednesday with a few other up and coming artists. Eef is touring in support of his new album Lose Big which hits stores tomorrow. Promising opening act Collin Herring wrote what could be one of my favorite songs of the year “Punches”. This should be a good way to spend your Wednesday evening. Check out Mohawk’s website to get tickets.

Here’s the title track off Eef’s new album Lose Big and that great track “Punches” from Colling Herring:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/08losebig.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/punches.mp3]

Download: losebig.mp3

Download: punches.mp3