Friday, December 4, 2015
Record Review: Lame Drivers "Chosen Era" (Bleeding Gold Records)
[$15 // Edition of 300 // https://bleedinggoldrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bg095-chosen-era // https://lamedrivers.bandcamp.com/album/chosen-era]
There exists an old saying that first impressions are everything and how you only get one. I imagine if there was a band I didn't like the first time I heard them or because they put something ignorant in their bio I might be sort of scarred for life with them where they always make me think of that one thing from when I first met them and so I'd always have sour feelings for them. Lame Drivers, however, will always be known to me as the band that made their record with a book that had an image to accompany each song. It was one of the most innovative things I've ever seen and even if the music was bad I'd still probably hold this record as having the potential to be good because of that one single concept. Fortunately, again, for us the music on that last record rocked and so I've gone into "Chosen Era" expecting nothing less.
It is worth noting that the record itself has only 13 songs while the CD and download both contain 3 bonus songs for a total of 16. When you purchase this record from Bleeding Gold they will give you a download code as well, so be sure to download it for the three extra songs. (The second Bandcamp link up there will let you stream the three bonus songs as well) Most of the time when someone sends me a download code with physical media I don't bother downloading it because I just stick with listening to it in its chosen form, but this is one of those times when you do need to download it when you get the record just for those three extra songs. (Though if you download it, you could burn it onto CD or whatever and then also be able to listen to "Chosen Era" in your car or what not, which is what I will often do with records and occasionally with cassettes)
And while we're on the subject, how awesome is it that Lame Drivers have a record on Bleeding Gold? Sure, there are bands releasing music on Bleeding Gold Records that I'm hearing for the first time via the label, but it's nice when you first hear a band and go, "Yeah, this band is something special" and then a label you like goes on to release something by them, like as if to agree with you and to let you know that they heard it too. Plus it just becomes one of those things where talent recognizes talent, at least in my opinion.
So we find Lame Drivers now with thirteen songs (or sixteen) and it's a jump from their EP but they do manage to pull off the full length album with ease. I think they could put out a triple box set and be fine without having to worry about their songs running together or losing that overall quality. From The Replacements to The Damn Personals, Lame Drivers simply continue to carve out their niche in rock n roll music. It's fuzzy at times and other times it can even remind me of Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream", but overall it's just that great American rock n roll record.
When I was a kid growing up I heard this song and I think it was on the radio and it was called "Rock On". Now, the original is by David Essex (thanks, Google!) but the version I heard at the time was a cover by a guy named Michael Damien. I actually went out and bought his entire cassette (Still have it) and later on (we're talking years later) I found out he was actually not a musician but rather an actor... from a soap opera. Oh well. I still stand firm in my belief that his version of the song was okay and he had a few other songs on there I liked, but there are those same elements in here which can you hear through the echoes of a song such as "Rock On", regardless of which artist you associate that song with most.
So really I like to think of this record as being a double threat because either you're going to be into it already because you read my previous review for Lame Drivers and are on board with the way I feel about them from that point or you simply are a fan of Bleeding Gold, which if you're on this site you really should be. All of that aside, this is just a great rock record and on the first song he's singing about the environment which seems to also be the right foot to get started on because if you can make a difference you really should try to, right? Lame Drivers just continue to deliver on every level and once you listen to this one you will never grow tired of it and you will never regret that it came into your life. It's a keeper.