New Town


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New Town Review

by Skip Jansen

Living-room ambience and deranged ramblings are again the formula for this outsider artist from Texas. Daniel Johnson, Rocky Erickson, and Syd Barrett have been common travelers in this strange musical universe, yet on New Town, Jandek once again alludes comparison. Delivering over 30 albums in a career that began in 1979, this troubled abstract singer/songwriter is often perceived as an elaborate, sick joke. Listeners who acquire a taste for this deeply personal and private music will find him in peak form here, scarcely playing his acoustic guitar and delivering exquisite stream-of-consciousness couplets in the anguished atonal voice. Shying from the public eye, Jandek has never been interviewed or performed concerts. Throughout the '80s and '90s he defied every genre that listeners struggled to find for his music. With this album, avant-garde is too small a pocket to house these wayward and twisted songs, while folk and blues aficionados may well take offense to the deconstructive nature of this music. In fact, his inclusion on the Songs in the Key of Z compilation is possibly the only place where his music arrives home other than on his own Corwood Industries label. New Town is another recording to be cherished in collections of outsider art, and album 27 adds to the mystery of this unique chapter of American underground music.

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