steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

A Tomato A Day

"Nothing Special" CDR

Public Eyesore / Tip Top

Genres: lo-fi, diy folk-pop

Bryan Day / PE
3803 S 25th St.
Omaha, NE 68107

Jan 6 - 12 2003

Nothing Special. Ha. What a thing to say about a release like this. When if comes to lo-fi hometaper albums, you kind of expect something special. That has been the case for ages now - Smog's Sewn To The Sky and Guided By Voices' early albums are good examples - and anything less than excellent just tends to go ignored.

Then it's hard to tell whether Nothing Special lives up to its title or not. To put it bluntly, the band have put this album together so that it sounds shitty. The recording quality is awful - it's below bootleg. And the music, well, isn't exactly excellent. It's pretty catchy, and has those neat, purposely off-tune vocals - and the band play their instruments well, too - but, chances are, their diy folk-pop sound won't appeal to every kid on the block.

As for the individual songs, a few stick out. The most appealing tune, melody-wise, is "I Know You're There, But You're Not There." It's funny then, that the piece is also the most poorly recorded; the tape hisses like an annoyed snake, and the recording distortion is so immense it sounds as if it's a caricature of itself. Another keeper is "Crusing Through The Astral World," a warm, personal tune with a bit of a spacey feeling to it. Also nice is "Dissipate," a melodic little number that calls to mind some of Cincinnati's Ionik/Datawaslost roster.

Well, this album will likely only appeal to diehard lo-fi fans in search of the next Bill Callahan, which is a shame, because there are many good ideas to be found here. While I must be coming off as one of those anal idiots who just assumes that anything not recorded in hyper-gloss isn't worth my time, I assure you, this is not so. While I dig the whole lo-fi scene, I can't shake the fact that this album could have been so much more if it was cleaned up a bit. A Tomato A Day sound like they have some great ideas to share, but only a few of them can seep through the album's recording quality. Buy this if you like lo-fi stuff; if not, wait until the band buys a functioning four-track.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]