All Over The Place: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 128

Joey Nix

Joey Nix - Another Way To Do It - Just Because Records - 15 songs - LP, digital

This is my third time around with this record— I had the cassette two years ago and I had the CDr two years before that (it was called “Hardcore Bedtime” back then and was missing a song or two, as I recall). I think I’ve only reviewed it once before, but who knows. In any case, I am totally happy to review it again and elated it’s finally really out (the cassette was fine but unavailable to purchase anywhere that I could find; the CD I think Joey may have just given out to people at shows) because it is a very, very good album. Joey’s thing is a sort of lo-fi power pop with garage-y leanings, but differs from a lot of music in this category because it all seems very acoustic guitar-heavy, even when it’s with electric guitar. This is not the best way of explaining this but I hope it gets the point across that there’s something special going on here. “Souled At 17” is a great opener where you immediately get an idea of what a good songwriter Joey is (and he can really sing, too— perhaps it isn’t as immediately noticeable as it was in Shitbox Jimmy, but you can still tell). Things get strange on track two, “Purple Peet” with a bass that plays one note the whole song (giving it an unsettling intensity) and some semi-tuned violin (or viola, not sure) which is immediately reminiscent of “Blimps Go 90” by Guided By Voices, who I would have to assume are an influence here in more ways than one. I famously rarely have any clue what Joey is singing (see previous reviews) and when I can make it out I don’t really know what it means but I love the line “the hole I’m filling I dug up this morning” in “Jousting.” “Misty Green Car,” “Milkstand,” and “Machine: Baloo Song” each have in their own different ways some kind of resemblance to the Kinks— it’s a good trick to be able to make someone think of Ray Davies in multiple styles. I would have to assume that Joey likes the Kinks and the Beatles quite a bit (he and his band did “Ticket To Ride” at the release show and it was incredible) and the slower parts on “Machine” sound like if a Big Star record were recorded and produced like a Bill Fox record. Hey, maybe that’s not too far off. I love “Small Reward,” which is like power pop here but was more psychedelic live and the vocal delivery is especially good here, like on the lines “it must be hard to have everything, to have everything” and “without the cash, where would you be? Stocking cans in a pet store!” The way the third guitar comes in with these big power chords is a total Paul Westerberg move. “Bugs And Bob” feels the most outwardly power poppin’ of all of these and I think it’s because the drums are a little more forceful. It also has some really good little guitar leads and a great bass part (for a record that would probably by most people be considered lo-fi and that at times sounds a little ramshackle, all the arrangements and production moves definitely show real thought put into them– Joey (and co-conspirator Jared Phillips, the other major contributor to this record) certainly understand the importance of dynamics). Yes, maybe I should hate “DJ Man” because it’s a novelty, but it’s too charming. I think Joey’s doing a German accent? Not sure. “Nixx Shuffle” is spooky, not just in instrumentation but in the lyrics I can pick up. A lost guitar solo wanders in for a moment and then disappears again. Musically, there are certainly some GBV tricks here (also note the abrupt GBV fade on “Jousting”). I guess one would call “Bricks” a ballad— great melody and “ooh la la” backing vocals. “Fly’s Place” returns us to the Kinks Kamp with some Chilton moves sprinkled in. I’m sure I already said this in my original review but I love “Jobs” a lot— it’s such a sweet little song and hits me emotionally the same way certain Donovan songs do. Nice harmonica, too. “Trust?” is a good driving power pop song (good guitar leads and backing vocals again) with a great two-part bridge, first where it builds up and gets loud and then when it hits the key change and the guitar lead follows the vocal melody— brilliant. I think “Shiny Wheels” is a perfect moody closer where Joey’s murmured, mumbled vocals fit perfectly and once again I’m reminded a lot of solo Paul Westerberg at his best. Maybe this is just a record that’s geared towards my sensibilities anyway, but I think it’s fantastic. People should hear this and I’m glad more people will get a chance to now. 5/5


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Volume 18, Issue 22, Posted 1:51 PM, 11.16.2022