Monday, July 28, 2008

Live: Eef Barzelay & Tracy Shedd

Untethered from the band he helmed for five records, Eef Barzelay has turned acoustic, dropping the fuller sound that swung from soul to country to chiming rock. And it's a perfect fit for someone who's lyrics demand a bit more attention than normal. Clem Snide was a strange and excellent group, turning in songs that were more often than not sad at their core, and Eef's singing was the perfect fit for such melancholy.

His first solo record (I haven't heard the second one yet, just bought it last night) starts with the title-track, the aching "Ballad of Bitter Honey." Eef sings from the point of view of a young woman who's lost just about everything. Once a background dancer in a rap video, she's dropped out of nursing school and has the bitter wisdom to go along with a life of hard knocks: "Don't hate me because I know just what the world is all about."

Playing an acoustic guitar with just a pedal steel backing him on most tracks, Eef has gone in a decidedly low-key direction. But his poignant and often witty songs (mostly solo, save "Fill Me With Your Light") don't need any more. Check out the Tucson Weekly's interview with Eef.

And for some excellent live recordings, download Eef's performance at Daytrotter.

Opener Tracy Shedd is making waves locally and is on the verge of releasing her latest record, "Cigarettes & Smoke Machines." As I wrote about her last record, Shedd "has a sharp sense of how to blend melody with distortion. She has a dreamy, languorous vocal style, which blends well with buzzing, feedback-prone guitars and the looping, urgently propelling drums."

Eef Barzelay - The Ballad of Bitter Honey
Tracy Shedd - If You Really Cared About Me You Would Have Kept In Touch For All These Years
Get the whole Louder Than You Can Hear album for free at

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