Review Summary: A strong if slightly spotty debut from a Texas oddball with a fine voice and a bleeding pen.
Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) is a mysterious caucasian weirdo from Texas who writes depressing (yet occasionally funny) folk-blues reminiscant of a more conventional, traditional sounding Jandek mixed with a little Nick Drake and Elliot Smith. On his BandCamp, it also says that this album was released in June of 1987, but has seen the light of day in 2012. So dont worry, it's recent.
Anyway, what I find most interesting about this man's music is its dissonant, haunting quality that both sooths and unsettles with a slightly amauterish charm. The vocals are alternately smooth and gravelly, delivered with a sad and smokey tone that really drives the dreary, personal lyrics home with admirable consistancy. The music consists mainly of folksy instrumentation with acoustic, (sometimes) electric, and slide guitars; as well as banjos, acoustic bass, the occasional horns, and minimalist percussion. Sometimes the songs get a little dull (The Springsteen cover "Im on Fire" could use a little extra work, as well as the closer "To Cure What Ails"). But usually the music runs together at a smooth, fresh pace. The funny, sex-ed video sampling "The Seal Hunter" throws in a splash of tounge-in-cheek, which is refreshing amongst the depression of the bulk material. An impressive live recording of "City In A Bottle" displays a loudmouthed energy not as apparant on the studio tracks. It also shows that this guy can make for a sweet live performance. Other highlights, such as "Proper Fence" and "Built To Roam" have a seductive tone buried under the sadness of Alejandro's voice.
Seeing as how this album is free to download on BandCamp, why not check it out? But I suggest throwing a little money Shakey's way to keep him in 'clean socks and bread' because he is a powerful talent, thus deserving to have something to put his sandwich meat on and keep a stenchless shoe.