March 20th, 2008


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.


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.)