“We really dug The Invincible Grins”
Ever since I was knee high to a Dewey Decimal System card file, I’ve been taking music out of the local library and making my own copies on cassette and CD for my collection. Home taping never killed music like the industry said it would during the vinyl era and it was an economical way of auditioning music your budget wouldn’t allow for buying but you still wanted to hear.
Late in life and with the help of the internet, I learned about the practice of having library items put on hold, which allows you to access music titles from any branch in the city and have it shipped to your local library mere blocks away.
Now when I go browse the CDs at my local branch, the shelves are lined with albums apparently only I was interested in investigating and have subsequently remained in Sunnyslope. “The Best of the Classics IV,” “The Best of Donny & Marie (Oh you bet it has “A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll”!), any Elvis Costello album after “When I Was Cruel,” any Carole King album not named “Tapestry “and surprisingly, a boxed set of every Creedence Clearwater Revival album that not only continues tct dust here but has been inexplicably joined by another copy of that very same set.
So it’s no wonder I think The Invincible Grins have seized on an incredible marketing strategy by tapping into that “won’t-pay-for-it-if-I-can-get-it-at-the-library” set. This roots-rock collective from the Verde Valley have not only made their new album “Chin Up” available for streaming on Spotify (and you can sample their neat version of “St. James Infirmary” on their own website, the Grins have also made a copy available for any bookworm with a library card in Yavapai County! What a great way to sneak preview an album and have it available weeks before their CD release show at the Main Stage in Cottonwood, AZ on August 1 (with Andy Warpigs and Hot Rock Supa Joint). It’s currently checked out and has three holds on it but you can queue up for it here.
A rarity as far as library items go, it also has a Parental Advisory sticker for explicit lyrics. I guess they’re a little lax about blue language up north. Fans of old -sounding folk songs that start off slow then spin out like a dancing dervish by the end are well served by this collection, especially on the faux Italian ballad “Ciao Bella” and the title track. There’s even a studio vérité cut ending the album just like the Beach Boys used to do, with singer BDBoggs (no spaces) explaining why he left his phone at home and how a song could be less rushed if they would all smoke some pot together. Then, reconciled with the fact the song is gonna speed up anyway, just count it in slower so it won’t seem like it’s speeding up THAT much. That’s problem solving you don’t get without some herbal stimulation.
Andrew Jackson Jihad return from their “Christmas Island,” tour which concludes at The Crescent Ballroom on Friday, Aug. 1. Judging from these videos capturing the group playing at Little Elephant, a multitrack mixing, mastering and recording studio located in Toledo, Oh., the AJJ guys had a lot of fun singing this song about inconsolably choking back tears thanks to a video installation of “Linda Ronstadt.” That song, featured on “Christmas Island,” makes it pretty clear that the silenced singer is building up the inner composure of Sean Bonnette but a dog on the sidewalk has strengthened his conviction that “I think I like my pretty pretty ugly.”
A side benefit of this is the return of Dogbreth, who were also on that 36-date tour with Andrew Jackson Jihad supporting their last record. “Sentimental Health” is still available on the LP format from No Idea and on the CD format from Diet Pop Records but apparently has sold out in its cassette format from Lost Sound Tapes.
You can hear the entire album, recorded at Audioconfusion Studios in Mesa, on Bandcamp, bristling with simple earnest rockers like “Too Much Too Fast” where Tristan Jemsek wonders “what did I have to say that was worth pushing you away” and concludes “Guess I’m just a self-sabotager.”