A Soundtrack To Bleed To

February 13th, 2009

damnwells.jpgThese are troubled times.

While I, for one, endeavor to refrain my steady drumbeat of “change,” and “opportunity,” I find myself struggling home through the cold every night having accomplished nothing on my “To Do” list which typically includes both “Eat Breakfast” and “Eat Lunch.” Forget “Run.”

Worse, I wake in the middle of most nights, toss and turn with my troubled thoughts, then climb out of bed long just enough to watch the sun rise before climbing back in again. And then I start the whole thing over.

I won’t even get into my poor, widowed acoustic guitar left stashed in the closet. Or the drive full of “Mister Rogers & Me” footage. Or new apartments. Or someday babies.

I don’t mean to complain; I’m just overwhelmed. I knew I would be. I just didn’t think it would feel like this.

Luckily, I have the world’s most excellent wife, and — running a very, very distant second place to her — a decent pair of headphones. And luckily, The Damnwells (once of Brooklyn, now of Iowa City) have just released a new album, “One Last Century”. What’s more, they’re giving the whole thing away for free.

“One Last Century” finds frontman (and primary singer/songwriter) Alex Dezen in an equally contemplative place. We know he lost his record label (Chris Suchorsky’s doc, “Golden Days” chronicled that), and in the process. And we know the band failed to explode onto the alt.country alternarock (or something) scene with its transcendent “Air Stereo” as a result. And the Dezen moved first to Los Angeles to escape to his actress girlfriend, then Iowa City where he is currently enrolled in the esteemed Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

“One Last Century”, then, find Dezen bruised, but not beaten.

Hey little stickaround girl
I wanna know why
Why you just turn me outside
Can’t you just turn around
Hey little kiss a while girl
Didn’t I just see you cry?
Hey honey all I want
Is whatever you’re gonna give

The record is stark and simple, dusty but direct. It’s a long walk home through the cold with nothing to show for the day. But step inside the front door. She’s home, she’s waiting, and she’s glad to see you.

“I don’t wanna be a maybe,” Dezen sings. “Baby let me drive you crazy. I wanna be your dandelion.”

And not a moment too soon.