whiskey and apples

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Kevins



I guess one of the marks of good music is that it's disorienting. It has to leave you wondering what you just heard. Now that I've listened to The Kevins' self-titled record twice, I hear Ted (Black Nasty) and Jon Beck, occasionally joined by their sister Sara (Pink Nasty) singing numbers like, "Only You Know," and I'm completely bewildered about this strange little family from Wichita.

Listen to this song and a few others on their myspace page.

There's a mention in Harp about The Kevins being an album of "silly love songs," but after listening to it in full I had a slightly different view: really good love songs. I'm a big fan of Black Nasty, and spent the first couple tracks waiting for punchlines. But holy cow, man, this stuff is just plain good. Yeah, there's humor in it, sometimes more blatant than others. But a lot of it is really swell, Everly Brothers-style love songs.

The first track, "You!" is like a joke that's about to break. Ted's voice is imprinted in my mind as something hilarious, so hearing his voice singing a love song, you're waiting for the punchline. But when the song ended and it was just a good song, no punchline, it occured to me that maybe he's just a guy with lots of talent and range.

Track two, "The Wait," is a guy trying to explain to his gal why it's been a year and they haven't kissed. He swears it's not because he's gay, he's just been hurt before. "Gambling Hearts" is the most Everly Brothers of them all, "Grandpappy, you said it well. 'Boy, you've gotta play the cards you're dealt.'"

My favorite track on the CD is, "My First Glass of Champagne," which begins with one side of a conversation between "Kevin" and a gal as they drink. It gets radder and radder, then suddenly launches into a Louis Armstrong-style number about champagne. An instant classic.

The bio on their website is also very cool: "The Kevins do not believe in mind games, abortion, witchcraft, irony, jealousy, garlic, futuristic clothing and/or sounds, scary movies, one-night statnds, competition, cocaine, or drums. The Kevins will take her side every time... The Kevins do believe in double-tracked vocals, first base, sushi, mist, eskimo kisses, all birds, well thought-out mix tapes, pancakes, and poignant guitar solos. The Kevins will sheepishly sway side to side when you pull them onto the dance floor."

For all the world's romantics: here's how to order The Kevins CD.

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