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Dirt Poor Robins Thank Ludwig Van Beethoven, Albert Einstein, and Jesus Christ - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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March 20th, 2008


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12:11 am - Dirt Poor Robins Thank Ludwig Van Beethoven, Albert Einstein, and Jesus Christ
I'm going to let you guys in on a little secret, and the name of that secret is Dirt Poor Robins' The Cage, a great CD I just bought for full price. I'm a fucking cheapskate, people, but that's how much I wanted this CD.

I discovered Dirt Poor Robins when my Pandora station gave me "Masquerade," which intrigued me upon the first listen and got a thumbs up. As it came up again, I loved it more and more. So I ventured over to their MySpace, hoping I would find "Masquerade" on tap, but no go. Instead, however, I discovered a fantastic cover of "Eleanor Rigby." It's...just too awesome for words. It's got a whole different energy to it, making the loneliness almost triumphant. Go to the MySpace and listen to the live version, as the album version, which you can hear on the official site, doesn't include the intro (because it's in the previous track).

Unable to illegally download either of these tracks, I was forced, forced I tell you to purchase the CD. There was another incentive to buy the CD, however: it's a concept album about a carnival sideshow, and the liner notes are in the form of a script for the show with various characters singing the lyrics. And when I listened to the CD straight through while following along in the booklet, wow. It made the album ten times cooler. Because there are all these little things like a character picking up the chorus melody herself for specific lines and big things like a love story betwen two characters you wouldn't even know existed if you just listened to the songs. And I love the Grind Pitcher, who often steps into other people's songs and inserts his own comments. (And he's the one who sings "Eleanor Rigby," whose inclusion I understood halfway through the album: these characters, these are the lonely people.) The songs all function on their own as songs, of course, but reading the liner notes enhances them.

And what does it all sound like? They describe their sound as "cinematic rock," but I thought that label was more for E.S. Posthumus and the like. Their label describes it as "music that pulls from rock, folk, and classical arrangement," and that's more accurate. vonnie_k, I can almost guarantee you will love these guys. Kate Robins has a very powerful and versatile voice, and it can get kind of operatic all up in these songs, so she's well equipped. You can listen to four songs on the MySpace and official site, but here are three more to give you a taste:

"Masquerade": The song that hooked me pretty much solely on the basis of Kate Robins's voice and the infectious chorus. It's a good example of the rock/folk/classical mishmash they've got going on. Oh, and the Grind Pitcher pops in for the bridge, and I love the image of him just peeking in from behind the curtain (although the stage directions have him coming up through Trap Door B on Lighting Cue 9...and do you see why this album is worth buying?). And this song was the best thing I had ever recommended to miniglik! The BEST, you guys!

When we lie, oh what tangled webs that we weave!
When at first we practice to deceive,
We become a slave to make-believing

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my secrets keep
If I'm found out before I wake
I pray the Lord my secrets take


"Light in My Darkness": See, the reason Dirt Poor Robins are so amazing is because this song should totally suck since on the surface, it's kind of overwrought and sappy, but again, the vocal performance completely pulls it off, and the music rises to match it. And it's one of the songs I loved on first listen because it's so lovely and powerful. As it turns out, it's the goddamn climax of the album, so I have no idea why the mp3 version of the album leaves it out (along with "Teach Me How" and the lyricless tracks).

You are the light in my darkness
You're the current that pushes me back to the shore
You are the light in my darkness
You open a window when they close the door
You are the light in my darkness
You're the wind that is lifting me up towards the sky
You are the light in my darkness
You keep me from wandering blind through the night


"Great Vacation": Kate's husband, Neil Robins (responsible for most of the music), sings lead on a couple tracks. This one is about the apocalypse! It's a hummable, relaxing tune about the end of days. The Grind Pitcher makes an appearance in this song too; see if you can pick him out.

Dear Mr. Thoughtless, there's some things you shouldn't say,
for the judge can hear you, and it soon will be the day.
He'll bring the words you spoke and lay them at your feet:
syllables and decibels, he didn't miss a beat.

And we'll see what you can do to try to buy and lie your way out of this one, pal, cause the world is gonna be gone.

Gone!

All of the world (all of the)
All of the world (all of the)
All of the world (soon will be)
Soon will be gone (soon will be)


Oh my God, you guys, this CD is so good. You have to buy it! These guys are from Louisville, Kentucky! No one knows who they are! They don't even have a Wikipedia entry. Please listen so I have people to share my love with!

(The song I am listening to right now is the Act I Finale. THIS ALBUM HAS AN ACT I FINALE YOU GUYS.)
Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: Dirt Poor Robins - Aquiline (Rise Up)

(27 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:squaringkarma
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:28 am (UTC)
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"Masquerade" is a good song, dude. Thanks for the tunes.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC)
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It's an AWESOME song. Did you listen to the others?

You're welcome for the tunes! Tell your friends! Spread the love!
[User Picture]
From:squaringkarma
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
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I'm listening to the clips at the Astonish Store right now :D

Perhaps I shall :)

..Also I just googled 'em and this post comes up. That's damn fast.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:37 am (UTC)
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Ha ha ha ha AWESOME. Damn, Google.

THIS IS HOW UNKNOWN THEY ARE. I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO LOVES THEM.
[User Picture]
From:squaringkarma
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
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Yeah like the second hit when you Google "Dirt Poor Robins" lyrics (that is, quotes around the band name, but not lyrics). This is the first hit. Which surprisingly doesn't mention "Masquerade."
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:51 am (UTC)
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Yeah, but otherwise, it's a pretty great review.
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From:sophiap
Date:March 20th, 2008 10:22 am (UTC)
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Oooh. Very intriguing. I think I need to get this album.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
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You totally do! It's so good and catchy in addition to all the other stuff.
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From:catalyst2
Date:March 20th, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
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Slightly OT but if you ever want to destroy your faith in modern music, have a listen to Booker T and The MGs' version of Eleanor Rigby. It is awful - and I know awful music because my Mother loves Ray Conniff and plays him all the time!
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
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Hooray! I hope you like the rest of what you hear. As I said, iTunes doesn't have all the tracks on the album, so I'd recommend buying the CD for the full experience. The tracks bleed into each other; it's a lot of fun.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, right, overseas. Yeah, that could be an issue. Then embrace iTunes! Especially for "Eleanor Rigby," which is awesome. I would also recommend "Aquiline (Rise Up)," "When All Is Said and Done," and "Wallflower," in addition to the songs on the MySpace. So that's...pretty much all of them, heh. And if you're just picking and choosing, you can grab "Love Again" for free.
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From:beathen
Date:March 20th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
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I just listened to Masquerade and I'm in the process of listening to the others ... these are awesome! I definitely have to buy the album. Thanks! (And I do have to say that I love E.S. Posthumus - I just bought their newest album, Cartographer, and it's pretty good.)

By the way - HI!!! :D
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
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I still haven't bought Unearthed, but I love several of their songs. I didn't know they had a new album.

I'm glad you're going to buy The Cage! I need to people to support Dirt Poor Robins so they can frickin' GO ON TOUR SO I CAN SEE THEM.

Hi!
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
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I'm already listening to Apocalyptica's last two albums on continuous loop thanks to you, and now you taunt me with more albums I can't afford.

Masquerade was pretty good. The other two didn't really click for me on a first listen.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
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I'm already listening to Apocalyptica's last two albums on continuous loop thanks to you, and now you taunt me with more albums I can't afford.
Mwahahaha. How great is "I'm Not Jesus"?

The other two didn't really click for me on a first listen.
They're growers. What I later noticed was that the three songs I uploaded all have very different sounds. Which is a testament to the variety of the album.
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From:vonniek
Date:March 20th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
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Hadn't had the chance to listen to these until now, and you're right! I dig'em a lot. "Masquerade" is v. catchy and I like the mix of the genres in the song -- a bit of indie rock, some classical influence, and quite a bit of jazz/blues-y feel on top of it. The one about the apocalypse is also awesome.

The album is actually available at eMusic, btw.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
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I dig'em a lot.
Yay!!

"Masquerade" is v. catchy and I like the mix of the genres in the song -- a bit of indie rock, some classical influence, and quite a bit of jazz/blues-y feel on top of it.
If you say so! You're the music maven.

The one about the apocalypse is also awesome.
I can't resist the urge to yell "GREAT VACATION!" along with them. Or at least mouth it.

The album is actually available at eMusic, btw.
Not surprised, but like Amazon and iTunes, it doesn't offer the full album.

Oh!! You also need to go here and download "Zombie Me" by No More Kings, the band Neil Robins wrote for before he started his own.
[User Picture]
From:vonniek
Date:March 20th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Thank for that link. I listened to a couple of more songs and liked them enough to splurge for the album at eMusic. (Since you uploaded "Light in My Darkness", the only song that isn't available for DL is the last track, and I can live with that.

"Become a zombie, be cool like Fonzie!" HAHAHA.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 20th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Well, you're also missing "Teach Me How," which is an actual song. The other tracks are good, but I understand why they weren't included. I was conflicted about posting "Light in My Darkness" because I kind of wanted it to be an incentive to buy the album, but I suspected that people do love their iTunes and would probably do that anyway no matter how much I emphasize that the album as a whole in combination with the liner notes makes for a much more fulfilling musical experience than the songs individually. And I didn't want people to miss out on the greatness that is that song.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 21st, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Rock for people with taste?

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Ha! It may be uppity, but it's true enough! I agree that the intricate melodies and Kate's vocals are top-notch. I'm glad you liked what you heard. These guys definitely need to be more well known.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 21st, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Rock for people with taste?

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Yep, those are the last three in the list of acknowledgments.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 21st, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Rock for people with taste?

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Oh, and I just saw your post recommending the band! Awesome! You can link directly to this post, by the way; that way people can listen to a few of the songs. Glad you're spreading the word.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:April 30th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)

Re: Yo!

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HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHAT.
[User Picture]
From:mr_mooph
Date:May 5th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)

Pardon a stumble...

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Was just searching for the title to one of the songs who's lyrics kept running through my head and I stumbled upon your entry. My personal introduction (also through Pandora) was the Eleanor Rigby cover. Though I'm typically not a Beatles fan, the cover of this song intrigued me so that I had to check out the rest of the album. Judging by the 30 sec previews I was able to pull for the rest of the tracks, it seemed a bit more produced and pop influenced than I had expected it to be from my experiences from the track above, but something about it still called to me, so I went ahead and made the purchase. When the album finally arrived and I got a chance to listen to it in full (note, had not opened the liner notes as of yet), I found that I was not completely wrong in my initial assessment.

When you say (at least of one track) "this song should totally suck since on the surface, it's kind of overwrought and sappy", I think you're spot on. Yet, this group brings a certain jena se quoi to the mix that allows them to pull it all together.

I was reading through the liner notes before a show not long ago when a cast member was taken by the album cover and asked me about them and who they were like. I told him that after one listening, I really couldn't give a good assessment or comparison, that'd I'd have to absorb it more to give an answer. The thing is, I still can't give a good answer to that question. I think the reasoning is because it's difficult to draw parallels to just one particular group or style. While I can hear the pop influences as noted above (and that almost drove me away from the album) and I could note certain top 40 pop folksy songstresses that would have completely turned me off of some of these songs, that's not solely all there is too it. The eclectic nature of the influences on these songs is what draws it all together, really hooks the listener (or at least this listener) and makes it not just palatable, but sincerely intriguing.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 5th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Pardon a stumble...

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts! I really like your assessment. There are definitely a lot of influences all mashed up together. I agree that there are some songs that sound like those by "certain top 40 pop folksy songstresses," but they still work, I think, because there's a sincerity about them. Kate Robins is truly speaking singing for these characters, so you feel like there's more behind the words.

Of course, heh, I am okay with pop influences, per se.

I see you're listening to Dirt Poor Robins quite a bit this morning.

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