Adam Marsland

232 Days on the Road

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When punk rock became a mainstream phenomenon and gave up any of the D.I.Y. pretense on which it was founded, a new school of "punk rockers" -- artists who were too good or too original to fit into the mainstream even if they didn't sound "punk" at all -- emerged during the '90s. Adam Marsland, along with his band Cockeyed Ghost, fit squarely into this movement. Armed with songs almost too literate and too catchy for mass consumption, Cockeyed Ghost weren't able to garner a mainstream audience, but they did cultivate a large and devoted cult following across the U.S. But without enough money for a proper tour, Marsland took matters into his own hands by hauling his 1994 Toyota Tercel across the country, armed with an acoustic guitar. That's punk rock in the classic, D.I.Y. sense, even if not in sound -- and the resulting live album, 232 Days on the Road, is a convincing portrait of both Marsland's brilliant songwriting and his presence as a live entertainer. The ten live tracks run through some selected highlights from the four Cockeyed Ghost albums but also pull out rarities -- "Party Apartment," "Portland," "Cut and Run," and a cover of They Might Be Giants' "James K. Polk" -- all doused with Marsland's one-part-Elvis Costello-and-one-part-Ben Folds-style sarcastic and witty stage banter. The lone drawback is a mastering error that left a strange buzz running through the entire show, though it's thankfully low enough in the mix to be ignored. As an added bonus to fans, three new studio cuts are tacked onto the end, and they're in the same vein of moody pop classicism as the band's 2001 masterpiece Ludlow 6:18. The end product is an utterly original and entertaining live album, and a convincing reason to go see Marsland on his next tour.

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