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Smog - Rock Bottom Riser

  by Adam Wood

published: 19 / 6 / 2006



Smog - Rock Bottom Riser
Label: Select Label
Format: CDS

intro

Unsettling, but remarkable Americana on latest four song EP from Smog, the moniker for Texan-based musician Bill Callahan


Bill Callahan has lived on a dirt road all his life; he’s survived a turbulent marriage with Chan Marshall aka Cat Power, being asked for a condom by John Cale and even found the time to release eleven albums in between. Smog is the perfect moniker for Callahan, his records lie heavy and clouded on the listener’s consciousness dragging him back to Smog’s dusty Texas home. And ‘Rock Bottom Riser’ is no different, a four track EP taken from the recent album 'A River Ain’t Too Much To Love'. The title track is a loping guitar lament trailed by the lightest of military drum rolls before being risen ethereally by rolling piano and Callahan’s jarring southern drawl. The additional tracks are also quite remarkable with their unnerving ability to sound just like Smog, but not a record you ever heard him do before. ‘I Feel like the Mother of the World’ strays onto Lou Reed territory with a kind of persistent, repetitive backing overseen by a monologue that doesn’t quite fit the time signature. The third track ‘Bowery’ is named after the famous tramp’s haunt in New York where Smog’s Irish grandfather drank and injected himself to death, but sung in such a deceptively upbeat way as to make the listener warm to the desperate tale of a Bowery bum abandoning his family, apparently “On his wife’s advice.” The EP also comes with videos of ‘Rock Bottom Riser’ and ‘I Feel like the Mother of the World,’ the former being a delicate animation of watercolour stems drifting and falling in black and pink. The latter video follows Chloe Sevigny as a one eyed maid cleaning hotel room whilst Callahan watches her from a TV newsroom, and her trampled, bruised performance could not suit Smog’s melancholy more.



Track Listing:-
1 Rock Bottom Riser
2 I Feel Like The Mother Of The World
3 Bowery
4 Fools Lament



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live reviews


Conway Hall, London, 19/9/2004
Smog - Conway Hall, London, 19/9/2004
Smog aka Bill Callahan has never been on record the happiest of musicians. On the second night of the two day Homefires festival, and supported by the likes of Adem and Joanna Newsom, Dominic Simpson finds him on gloomy, but also confusing form


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A River Ain't Too Much To Love (2005)
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