"New York-based band Firewater, incorporated a global range of musical influences into their highly-dynamic sound. A loosely-knit ensemble centered around the lead vocals of ex-Cop Shoots Cop bass player Tod A. (born: Tod Ashley), Firewater tied together such influences as Klezmer, Indian wedding music, art-punk, and Tom Waits-style cabaret poetry to create their heady, often quite danceable sound. Coupled with Tod A.'s acerbic, post-apocalyptic, and death-obsessed lyrics, Firewater was a band to be reckoned with almost from the beginning.

Shortly after forming in 1995, Firewater released its debut, Get Off The Cross (We Need The Wood For The Fire). Both it and 1998's The Ponzi Scheme featured guitarist Duane Denison of Jesus Lizard, drummer Yuval Gabay of Soul Coughing and saxophone and accordion player Kurt Hofmann of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The sultry vocals of Elsyian Fields' Jennifer Charles also drifted through both albums. Charles returned for 2001's more pop-oriented Psychopharmacology; other contributions came from saxophonist Ori Kaplan and sitar player Oren Bloedow. In 2003, Tod A. and his "wedding band gone wrong" returned with a stripped-down, razor-wire-wrapped effort for Jetset entitled The Man on the Burning Tightrope. The covers album Songs We Should Have Written appeared early the following year. Tod A. then went on an extended trek through Thailand, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia, which he chronicled on his blog Postcards from the Other Side of the World. A. also recorded music on his travels, collaborating with producer Tamir Muskat and local musicians along the way. The results were The Golden Hour, which Bloodshot Records released in spring 2008."

"In photography, the golden hour is when the sunlight is at the perfect angle to capture beautiful images; in the medical world, it's the window of time where a life can still be saved after severe injuries. Both meanings could apply to The Golden Hour, Firewater's first album of original material in four years: it's a musical travelogue of the three years Tod A. spent in India, Turkey, Pakistan, and Indonesia (which he also chronicled in the blog Postcards from the Edge of the World) after his divorce and the reelection of President George W. Bush in 2004, and each song is like a vibrant, sometimes violent, snapshot along the way. A.'s travels were no vacation -- if anything, there's a sharper edge to his songwriting here than in years, and combined with the contributions of local musicians from each country, The Golden Hour is some of Firewater's most consistently potent music. The album underscores its concept by kicking off with "Borneo," a jaunty, pissed-off exit song listing all the reasons for leaving the U.S. ("You got a monkey for a president" is near the top) with theatrical flair, and from there, A. and crew -- including drummer/producer Tamir Muskat of Balkan Beat Box -- find ways to dance on their troubles with quintessentially Firewater songs like "Hey Clown," "Already Gone," and "Three Legged Dog." The band ups the ante with "This Is My Life," where the tumba, chimta, and dholki of the native musicians (many of whom normally play in the backing bands for belly dancers) add an extra spark to the song's already fiery rhythm. But for every brash moment on The Golden Hour, there is an equally vulnerable one, whether it's the cautionary tales of "Paradise" and "A Place Not So Unkind" or "Six Forty Five," an elegant ballad filled with emptiness as it wanders from sunset to sunrise. On "Weird to Be Back," Tod A. notes that "everything's the same or maybe just a little worse," but that can't be said of The Golden Hour -- it's some of Firewater's angriest, most poignant, and most accomplished music."

All Music Guide


"Melodic Eastern European-flavored gypsy rock, Indian and Middle Eastern percussion, hypnotic sarangi solos... the album is a biting travelogue, the rantings of a surly castaway among the noble savages."
New York Magazine

...Firewater s most compelling record yet, a funky, furious bouillabaisse of fuzzy Gypsy-punk guitars, tart Bollywood strings and throbbing hand-drums.
Time Out New York

01. Borneo
02. This Is My Life
03. Some Kind of Kindness
04. 6-45 (So This Is How It Feels)
05. A Place Not So Unkind
06. Paradise
07. Bhangra Bros
08. Electric City
09. Hey Clown
10. Already Gone
11. Feels Like the End of the World
12. Weird To Be Back
13. Three Legged Dog


pass: bluesmen-worldmusic.blogspot.com


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bluesman!

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