The Avi Fox-Rosen Album-a-Month Marathon Is Off and Running
Musicians and athletes have a lot in common. One is a fascination with marathons and milestones. Take the album with the most songs on it, for example. Most people think that the Magnetic Fields set that record, but in fact there was another group who beat them to the hundred-song album: comedic Williamsburg band Vole. Then there are songwriting and recording marathons. Steve Wynn did a song a month for a year; cellist Emily Hope Price did a song a day for a month. Now songwriter/guitarist Avi Rox-Rosen is taking the concept to the next level. His game plan is to release an ep a month for all of 2013, a titanic enterprise. But he’s off to a good start with the first one, streaming at his Bandcamp page and available as a name-your-price download.
His 2009 album Welcome to the Show worked a wickedly smart, darkly theatrical Steely Dan-esque funk-rock vein, and this new album is just as deviously clever and funny. He’s not phoning this stunt in, at least not yet (he may have a bunch more songs ready to go than the average songwriter, considering that he plays in more than one band and has written for the theatre). There’s a dark undercurrent to much of this, a brooding contemplation of getting older and not liking it one bit.
The first track is a fun one, an amusingly allusive soul/funk number titled Fuck Yeah, Balkan/Americana chanteuse Eva Salina Primack turning in a torchy performance as one-woman soul choir. Baby seems to be a tender acoustic lullaby, but quickly gets very funny – it’s a sardonic return-to-the-womb scenario. And you’d probably prefer an enemy to the schadenfreude-obsessed friend in the catchy folk-rock shuffle Great Expectations.
Another Man’s Life makes a wry muscial joke on the theme of spinning one’s wheels, while Snow reminds of an acoustic Led Zep number. Arguably the best, and creepiest tune here is the gypsy-tinged, trippy, surreal Misdated Checks. The last song, Champagne Dreams, falls flat – it’s a perfectly pleasant, Levon Helm-ish piano pop ballad, nothing you haven’t heard before. Watch Fox-Rosen’s Bandcamp site for a second and hopefully many subsequent installments.