MARK EITZEL still finds it difficult to dispel the
persuasive myth of the mighty American Music Club, but
his new album "The Invisible Man" goes some way toward
shaking it off and dusting it down. Although there’s
plenty of his trademark introspection, there’s also
humour. A move to his home territory and his personal
computer has brought about something of a small manouvre.
Eitzel says he bought the computer because he was broke
from hiring studios and producers. Since 1998 he has
recorded two albums' worth of material, but couldn’t
afford to finish either.
should have just bought Pro Tools three years ago and
fucked all these people off," he says. "I’m not very
demonstrative and I don’t like to argue. If people don’t
understand why I don’t want to do something, I really
don’t explain it. But now I want my life to look more
forward than look back, even if it leads me nowhere.
I just don’t wanna leave my house right now. I’m happy
at home with my computer."
So what about tracks like, "The Boy With The Hammer
In The Paper Bag"?
"I used to go to an an illegal club in San Francisco
where they’d start the night with a 70s movie like Two
Lane Blacktop and then have be magic acts and strippers.
One night there was a kid there dressed up as Warren
Oates from Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, with
the suare sunglasses and a sledgehammer in a paper sandwich
bag. He sat there all night, he didn’t talk to anybody."
And "Can You See"? "Musically, we were trying to pay
tribute to The Carpenters - and failed. The lyrics are
about me on Hallowe’en. I’d see a friend from across
the room, an old friend, and she’s dressed up so fine
that I didn’t recognise her. It’s also about another
person in the room who was really fucked up. It’s also
about wearing a moth outfit."
I took “The Invisible Man” with me to the gym I go
to where I blast new albums on my walkman and try and
think about them. I kept having to turn it up. "The
Counting Crows" and "Train" were jumping into the spots
between songs to say“Hi! Remember us? Whaddaya mean,
you’re trying to forget? C’mon!” I have an interesting
story about "Train" and a very delinquent studio bill
for basic tracks on their debut owed to a friend of
mine, but that would be leaving the subject.
My fitness center plays an endless stream of snoozer,
diet-rock (s) hits from speakers conveniently placed
throughout the place, so you can flex your ass muscles
or whatever-noids in the mirror and hear (insert “safe”
band here) at the same time.
“The Boy With The Hammer in The Paper Bag” started this
all off, and the words “layers of gauze” and “blackness”
and “oboe” kept popping into my head, even though I’m
pretty positive there isn’t any woodwind action happening
on “The Invisible Man” The “layers of gauze” and “blackness”
could just be me reaching for a quickie description
of the album. There are many, many layers to it, and
I feel as though I could spend the next three months
writing about it and the crossing bits out and changing
them. I think “oboe” really refers to the immense, grumous
bass tones throughout the thirteen songs.
I have to admit to not knowing nearly as much as I should
about Eitzel’s old group, THE AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB. I
like ‘em, but is that enough? I own 1994’s “San Francisco”,
their swan song, and even brought it out of my cd collection
for reference, but I’ll just be honest and say I don’t
really know jack shit about them. They’re often
compared to "RED HOUSE PAINTERS", another band I admire.
Mark Kozelek (RHP) and Mark Eitzel (AMC); probably both
from another planet altogether.
“The Invisible Man” is a murky, bottomless, mournful
and deep (thrilling) to me, but to Mark could have been
“a bit too poppy”. He’s an alien. What did you expect?
Do they even have Aqua where he comes from? Look at
all the wonderful noises he’s missing! I’m being sarcastic.
Review by Jason Thornberry
Latest Tour Info:
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Sa 21 - Minneapolis, MN - 400 Star
Tu 24 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile Cafe
We 25 - Portland, OR - Alladin Theatre
Mo 30 - San Francisco, CA - GAMH