John Wesley Coleman III

Bad Lady Goes to Jail

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John Wesley Coleman III is an Austin, TX-based renaissance punk; he sings, plays guitar, writes songs and prose, makes visual art, dabbles in filmmaking, and even does standup comedy on occasion, and approaches it all in a manner that confirms he's far more interested in passion and ideas than technique. Coleman's second full-length album, Bad Lady Goes to Jail, is a purposefully crude, lo-fi set that's dominated by his wobbly but soulful vocals and instrumental tracks that range from quietly competent to weirdly shambolic, and which often reveal the influences by classic R&B and country sounds while never getting within spitting distance of their professional sounds. Coleman can sound intelligent and contemplative if he's of a mind on a tune like "Go Baby Go," but he's just as likely to go on a tear with something like "Get High Babe," or offer some creative provocation, such as the title-tells-the-story "Christians Drive Like Shit." For every moment on Bad Lady Goes to Jail where Coleman sounds perceptive, there are at least two or three where he suggests some boozy lunatic, but his beer-addled ranting also comes across like the words of a man who knows just what he wants to say and is going to say it as he pleases. And for all the crude surfaces on this album, Coleman and his musicians give these spare, elemental melodies a tough and heartfelt reading informed by classic R&B as attacked by a gang of curiously reverent art punks. Bad Lady Goes to Jail has heart, soul, and attitude to spare, and even if it's sloppy and noisy even by the standards of contemporary blues-punk, Coleman sounds just smart enough to have put the slop there on purpose … or liked where it landed too much to move it away.

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