jarbaby - "grave disaster"

loner kid rock, and converse shoes. love songs, and morality dirges. fine acoustic ballad, with very unique, loose and at times confusing songwriting. broken keyboard bits as well. first 100 come in handmade boxes!

"fruitless vine"
"what love can do"
"gulg glug"
"drop the bomb (on me)"
"she looks sad"
"sept. 11th"

"dearest darling"
"sat. night"
"speak easier"
"death of e"


I get a very vivid picture when listening to this tape. I picture Mark Nichols, who is Jarbaby, sitting at the foot of his bed, pounding away at heartfelt melodies on his acoustic guitar, constantly searching for ways to put his feelings, his emotions out in a way that someone listening, maybe in the apartment next door, would feel them too. I imagine that image isn't far from the mark. This tape is about as lo-fi as you get, but this music isn't supposed to be about production. Nichols doesn't have the best voice in the world, and he's not the best guitar player you've ever heard. But powerful acoustic guitar and passionate vocals go a long way on this release. This is an outpouring of heartfelt and yet endearing pop songs, pure and simple. - DOA

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Jarbaby is a dude from Normal, Illinois, and this cassette has a pretty serious 'early Shrimper' or, yes, 'early Sing Eunuchs!' vibe. Bashed-out solo post-punk young-man folk. I should say right off the bat that I can tolerate at the most one out of every, say, three or four hundred solo singer-songwriters I see or hear whose names don't happen to be "Bob Dylan" or "Nick Drake." So you might say this isn't REALLY my kinda thing, but Grave Disaster does have a visceral quality that makes it connect more than the usual back-of-a-coffeehouse-in-a-college-town or opening-for-Franklin Bruno-in-a-college-town fare. Mister Jarbaby has a fine way of singing sweet sad love songs but screaming out the words here and there and pounding his guitar like he might break a string, which makes the whole thing kinda tense and nervy. Plus, the third track on here is a super-distorted guitar-and-keyboard instrumental that'll really wake you up. The tape could've used a few more interludes like that in my opinion -- somewhere along the second side the tape starts to slip into the singer-songwriter bog a little bit, at least for me. I like pretty much all the songs that have overdubs though, and I also like the way that between the songs there's stuff that Mr. Jarbaby just taped off of the TV or from his record collection, and then he comes on himself and sings a song, sometimes after imitating the thing he just recorded off of the TV or whatever. It's that kind of underground off-the-cuffness that elevates Grave Disaster, like a lot of Shrimper and Sing Eunuchs! stuff, out of the dullness that pervades this genre. And dig the painted-on cardboard envelope thing the tape comes in...... - blastitude