PW's Sweeney reviews John Wolfington's self-titled debut.
SMELLS LIKE RECORDS
Whether they know it or not, Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley and Two Dollar Guitar's Tim Folijahn have been busying themselves with the creation of a new rock subgenre, which is accurately described on the Internet radio channel Spinner.com as "melancholia." On these rarefied airwaves, Cat Power packs the same star punch Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears once held on '70s AM radio. And with the presentation of Shelley and Folijahn's latest find--one John Wolfington of Brooklyn, N.Y.--they've finally got the Donnie to Cat Power's bipolar Marie. On Wolfington's expertly crafted, sensual debut, our boy makes no bones about wearing black on the outside because black is how he feels on the inside. Traces of depresso-rock giants abound, but the real story is in the way, track after track, Wolfington wraps his dark and lovely Sam Prekop velvet fog around a single lonely, rumbling guitar line. His voice is evocative enough to make John Wolfington transcend its homegrown indie rock status and push into greater levels of scarred-wrist appeal; Wolfington has made in his debut a perfect companion to PJ Harvey's Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. Like my man Max Fischer, Wolfington's a clipper ship captain out at sea for too long, and all us landlubbers can do is marvel at the way this tiny ship is tossed, wave to wave, and just hope the captain lives to tell about it again. B+
John Wolfington, Thurs., Jan. 25, 9pm. $8. North Star, 27th and Poplar sts. 215.684.0808. www.northstarbar.com .
Two years ago Badmaster proprietor John Emory told this paper he should’ve gotten his business degree instead of learning to paint. If he had, he might not be “losing money every day” on his label’s output. What Emory couldn’t have known then is that no business degree could save him or his label. The music biz is dying. Hell, seems like everything is. So it turns out he had the only sustainable business plan you can have in music: Make your work a labor of love. That’s how Emory and Badmaster have reached their fourth year together, releasing small batches of highly collectable vinyl-only art objects that, until now, have focused...
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PW's Music Issue 2014