I try not to curse much in this column, even though I do a little in real life. It's not what you want your mom reading, and it doesn't make you super proud when you read it back sometimes. I don't know. Old prudish habits die hard.
A lot of my friends curse from time to time but are otherwise bright, clean people. Nowadays, cursing seems to be used more for personal reasons than external. Less for offending others and more for signifying higher priority in the speaker's mind. A marker of a high level of emotion attached to the subject matter.
So I'm really tempted to curse when telling you all about a brand new local album, because it's so unbelievably, undeniably, f#$%ing good in my opinion.
I'll try to resist. Boulder-based musician Ted Thacker tracked me down this week and made sure I heard a new record he created under a new moniker, The Red Tack. The album, called "Knight Of The Sorrowful Face," is the first release by Lost Rocker Records and was recorded by Kyle Jones at Sleeping Brotherhood Studio in Denver.
Holy shit, you guys — sorry — I'm about to get real right now. This album isn't only impressive, it's important for our music scene. "Knight Of The Sorrowful Face" is so good from beginning to end that I really come up empty trying to think of a local album I've heard that bests my feelings on it.
Where to start? Well first, why don't you track down this album so we can be on the same page. Albums on The Hill has it, Bart's Record Shop has it, Twist & Shout in Denver has it and you can get it at store.cdbaby.com.
The Red Tack is sonically mature and fully formed. Stylistically, TRT is a self-described "glam cowboy," but I see this sound as less country and more of an evolution of the circa-2000 singer-songwriters. The music strikes me as a mixture of three musicians from that period: Pete Yorn, Ryan Adams and Ben Folds. I'll explain.
Compositionally, he's like Yorn and Folds, in that constantly fresh, rarely retreading sort of way. His sonics and loose feel also remind me of Adams, and his voice has shades of Yorn and Jakob Dylan, both in character and how they're treated with effects. And he shares their spare use of vibrato and gets vocal points from me for that.
Most of all, what he's got that they had is a cohesiveness from beginning to end. Like Yorn, he plays all the instruments on the album, which means we lose a little complexity in the drums but gain a huge sense of ease and unity. Also like Yorn, every vocal melody on the album is different but completely fits the songs individually.
The sonics of this album are amazing and make nearly any system I play it on sound better than I remember. So the recording choices were excellent, down to the type of compressors used on his vocals.
I didn't even get into Thacker's history in our music scene — not enough space for that here. And I think it's irrelevant. The Red Tack is the now. Will you go buy this $#%^$% amazing album already?