Byron via Chicago’s Boys Like Jason has been knocking around the internets for a short while now, giving away originals and choice covers. This year and last has been very fertile for BLJ’s Alex Danger Stewart, self-releasing 9 originals as a 20 minute long ‘full-length’, I Hope It Never Stops Raining, along with a few daring, classic cover songs on the side (The Beatles A Day In The Life, Elton John’s TIny Dancer, VU’s Waiting For The Man).
Stewart writes, plays, and records 99% of the material with appreciation for rock’s archaeological history. The Velvet Underground’s musical spirit threads the majority of these home recordings together with unconventional, childlike results. Every song’s loaded with creative, lo-fi musical details and crafty innocent lyrics ranging from puppy love to the tribute of a band or two.
Listen To Yo La Tengo manically channels Lou Reed & The Jesus & Mary Chain. Cindy Sanders taps into stoner metal riffing and 80s punk ramblings; Portland Babies mock glam; Characterization Through the Motif of the Clock touching piano before a countdown change; and Pretty Bertys acoustic nod to Unsatisfied by The Replacements on the intro is just sneaky enough to fool the ear.
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When Danger yells countdowns and chorus callouts, 1,2,3,4 (…Motif of The Clock) and Let’s Go! (I’m Not Sorry), it fuels ‘Never Stops Raining’s’ inner-child spirit with listening enjoyment other bed room recordings (Moldy Peaches) can’t pull off. Every song is off-rhythm or falling off the tracks; even a song like 50 has Feelings with its steady, programmed electro-drum beats and buried vocals can’t keep BLJ on the rails. It’s charming, quick, and over before it becomes too much.
I Hope It Never Stops Raining manages to turn an abuse of rhythm into an art form. What BLJ lacks in production techniques and performance proficiency, are made up for by an undeniable love of underground pop music—written and performed with child-like wonder.