Feb 18 2009

Farms in Trouble – “The Gas Station Soundtrack” (2008)

Published by at 3:21 am under Midwest,MP3's,Video

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Over winter break, I got a chance to give a visit to a few local record stores and a few in Milwaukee as well. On a freezing night, inside of one of the last open shops on Brady St., a not-so-shabby local chain, I fished out The Gas Station Soundtrack by Farms in Trouble. In a plastic sleeve, pressed firmly in the fold of a rectangle of cardboard–the diagram of a patchwork quilt screened on its front–was a disc that the clerk assured me was “dirty.” I don’t think I realized what he meant until later. I gave him $6, the cost of the album. It sat for a few weeks with all the other albums I collected over the break.

This 27-track epic is the product of Zack Pieper and Riles Walsh (of The Candliers), Milwaukee’s own, better known as Farms in Trouble in their 10-piece format. Totaling in at 42 minutes, this album is genius. It’s also, admittedly, dirty. For several reasons. I’ve just finished listening to it, and aside from the fact that my head is still spinning from the manic joy of the whole thing, its texture is also a force to be reckoned with. It’s not lo-fi, it’s not proper, it’s not simple and it’s certainly not a demo. It’s… dirty. No single song breaks the 3-minute mark, but if you weren’t following along, you’d swear there was a long one in there, for sure. Each track lends itself to the next in some way, sometimes chordally, or lyrically, but more often with a particular juxtaposition that makes it rough and crude without losing its charm and brilliance.

As I looked back at the album art, I saw the patchwork drawing. A collection of grids, dotted lines, arrows and what I think are pieces of a city map, the album truly does resemble a patchwork collage. The Gas Station Soundtrack is homegrown. It is rough on the edges and jagged in the seams. There is absolutely no way I could describe this album with a few songs, so I’ve picked some momentary favorites.

MP3: Farms in Trouble – “Pleasure Dome”

MP3: Farms in Trouble – “Like A Needle In Heaven”

MP3: Farms in Trouble – “My Beautiful Baby Born Inside Out”

MP3: Farms in Trouble – “Many Boss Levels”

Support Farms in Trouble: Activities Recordings | MySpace

Here’s a video for “Empty Arrows and Exit Signs” (Track 3)

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A friend of mine was talking about Guided By Voices recently, and I can’t help respect the elements of their early style that reflect in the ambitions of Farms in Trouble. Later I came to realize that Zack Pieper actually lists Robert Pollard as one of his influences.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Farms in Trouble – “The Gas Station Soundtrack” (2008)”

  1. […] I am completely intrigued by this review of The Gas Station Soundtrack by Farms in Trouble and that’s a good thing. Go over there for the mp3s, but stay for the awesome [Indie Muse] […]

  2. Nymanon 19 Feb 2009 at 11:23 pm

    “Like A Needle in Heaven” rocks my fuckin’ socks off

  3. NickTon 08 Mar 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Certainly one of my favorite Milwaukee bands. If these guys were based out of Brooklyn they would have been huge a long time ago.

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