Graham Coxon

The Golden D

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What with Blur frontman Damon Albarn stealing much of the attention for his loud-mouth antics, it seemed only natural that Graham Coxon, Blur's lead guitarist, would break out on his own for a side project. His debut solo release, 1998's The Sky Is Too High, was sort of like a collection of journal entries featuring acoustic melancholy, off-key guitar explosions and country crooning. Like The Sky, the second album reveals Coxon's appreciation for American indie rock. Whereas the first solo effort was somewhat lo-fi and reminiscent of Lou Barlow, Golden D, which is named after the musical chord, focuses on rock -- the hard and fast variety -- and suggests Sonic Youth and Sex Pistols. Standouts include "Jamie Thomas," a trashy punk thrasher that tributes his favorite skateboarder; atmospheric noodlings on "Lake"; the quirky horn-driven "Oochy Woochy"; and two Mission Of Burma covers ("Fame and Fortune" and "That's When I Reach for My Revolver."

Whereas Blur hired producer William Orbit (of Madonna fame) to bring out the band's delightfully sloppy side on its last album, 13, Coxon, who produced Golden D himself, masters messiness the au natural way -- by making the album sound almost exactly as it would live. This, in fact, leads to the most impressive element of Golden D -- that Coxon is solely responsible for everything you hear -- and see -- on the dozen-track album. He provided all the vocal and instrumental work (guitar and drums, mainly). He also released the album on his own label, Transcopic, and created the cover-art work -- a mess of colorful, cartoonish-looking albeit violent scribbles.

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