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Maxwell's 9/7/01


Chris and Tad - Hand Me That Door

Chris Ballew's long awaited collaboration with Tad Hutchinson of the seminal Seattle band, "The Young Fresh Fellows", as reviewed by Chris.Ballew.Net's Mike Lyon.

Today marks the release of the first album by Chris and Tad, the side group that Chris has had going with Tad Hutchinson basically since The Presidents originally broke up! Titled "Hand Me That Door", this is Chris' THIRD full-length album released this year, along with the 2nd Giraffes album and the new PUSA record, surely some kind of record. All this, plus the recording of the impending 3rd Giraffes album, "Zero Friction"!
To celebrate the release of this great little record, it's time once again for that age-old Mike Lyon tradition, relating to you my impressions of the album on the occasion of my initial listen.

Shelby Jenkins - It's jazz, momma!

Jilted on the Tarmac - Good old fashioned garage rock! Oh man, this is just great. This is what I have always imaged C&T to be about, halfway between the full-out rock of The Presidents and the alternative groove of The Giraffes. This shit is really something, it's the song that Paul McCartney would've written if he'd joined The Velvet Underground. 4 stars. 

I Made Up My Mind - I'm slowly being convinced that this album is all about hardcore 60s-style music. This is a Stones song through and through. Alright, now I'm gonna stop comparing them to other bands, okay? Killer Chris guitar work on the whole song, far more roking and free spirited than any previous efforts! Ooh, and there's a killer bridge.

Film Party - Now it's go-go music. This song is funny and a little creepy and very shindiggy. Ultimately silly. A pretty frivolous little toss off...

Radio Controll - Starts out with Chris spelling out SUPERNOVA! It seems that all the tiny animal and outer space references ended up migrating from The Giraffes to Chris and Tad ^_^ This song is just great, definitely one of my favorites on the album.

Sunshine Pig - I must admit, perhaps with a slight sense of shame, that I FUCKING ADORE this song. I mean, the chorus is "Sunshine Pig, making his way through the universe". I mean, this song is an absolute riot. Teflon heart! Space is now! Gun is big! Sunshine Pig! Cool feedback, Joe Hisaishi-style organ... It's all good!

Bread and Butter - Okay, well, this song is pretty bizarre. The entirety of the song, I mean ALL of it, is Chris and Tad singing: "Bread and Butter, you're the one!" As Chris writes in the liner notes: "Not really a song, per se." Still, there's some fun harmonizing, and a nifty bridge, and the outro is the best part. Strange.

Bookstore - Okay, sorry to bring up other bands again, but this whole album really just reeks of the Stones and The Velvet Underground. This song is cool, and includes some awesome harmonica work by none other than Chris himself! The lyrics consist of Tad screaming "meet me at the bookstore" over and over again. Pretty damn good!

I Got the Bloo - This almost has a samba beat. It's got that "George of the Jungle" knee-slapping beat to it. No, really. It's blooz-samba, yo. Tad takes the lead on this song. It's pretty good, maybe a little too TMBG for my tastes, but the organ is sublime.

Hand Me That Door - Ah, the rok, it flows like a fine wine. This song is evil and funky, and there's a great little organ freak-out about halfway through that is so experimental it brings a tear to my Ryuichi Sakamoto-loving eye. Great, GREAT fun!

PNW Bloo - Great little Chris riff, and if the liner notes are any indication, this is the newest song by the band. I haven't the foggiest idea what "PNW" stands for, but I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out. (Mike emailed the answer, less than an hour later, 'Pacific NorthWest'.)  This is a good song, but not one of my favorite on the album. It has a little Southern-fried rock and roll tinge to it. Oh, but might I add that it does feature what I think is the greatest organ solo to be found on any Chris recording!

Sandra in Short Pants - A fun little ballad, too short if you ask me. Completely nonsensical, just the way it should be. I love the outro.

Town and Country - Now THIS is the real ballad. This one seems like it would've been totally at home on "The Days Are Filled With Years".

When You're Dead - This song is just perfect. Much like the opener to the album, this is exactly what makes Chris and Tad such a fabulous combination. Bizarre, beautiful, and a perfect album ender.

Well folks, we've waited 3 years for this tiny record (it weighs in at a whopping 30 minutes long); was it worth the wait? I vote yes. This is a great sampling of the fine work that Chris and Tad do together, roking the lo-fi house. It's a really cohesive listen, as well, flowing very nicely from song to song. I personally would like to have seen some of the more heavy experimental stuff, the ambient noise rock style of stuff that Chris did on Lint Cake.
On another note, the album cover and artwork are absolutely great, and the interior art especially showcases the talent for collage that Chris showcased in his prize for the CBnet anniversary contest earlier this year! My single biggest complaint is that there just isn't enough to sate me on this album! I want more, more, more!
At a little more than $10 for a copy, this is an album that no Chris fan would dare pass up. Follow this link and order your copy today!  

  - Mike Lyon


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