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We Were Young and Needed the Money

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Album Review

What? Jeff Martin had half an album left unreleased from the lineup that made Idaho's greatest LP, 1996's Three Sheets to the Wind?! And all seven songs were every bit as good as what made the LP, and in some cases, even better?! And he was also sitting on nine other unreleased songs of this quality?! Released in celebration of the band's tenth anniversary, this hourlong collection is a great LP, no matter where it sprang from. Far removed from the usual stopgap raid of the vaults, this might be Martin's second best LP, however accidental. Though it's only one-third Three Sheets material, it shares that work's best quality: a range of moods and colors, from slowcore to dream pop to soundtrack washes to aroused, heavy, post-Dinosaur Jr. downpours. It's like a favorite band releasing a career-spanning "best-of," only you can't understand why you don't know any of the songs. The Three Sheets lineup steps to center stage for six straight songs that challenge your speakers' ability to convey such a range of sounds. Martin wails his vocal way through "Come Over" with a slippery punch and a roiling sea of guitar tones. "Shoulder Back" is so gripping in its originally latent and then conspicuous power, so full of aural conflagration as its soaring, truck-discharge riffs repeat on the last third, it makes you want to move to Idaho, even though the band doesn't live there and nothing ever happens there. Likewise, "Breathe" doesn't let you, it's so full of that strangely beautiful mix of claustrophobic odd chords emanating from the four-string guitars. The last half of the collection takes darker, more obtuse, less storming turns that are just as unique and engaging. This stuff alone would have made this worth it, too. Holy smokes, what else is there gathering dust on the shelves of Martin's garage? Can we rummage sometime when we're in town?

Biography

Formed: 1991 in California

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most prolific, consistent, and unsung acts classified as slowcore, Los Angeles, California's Idaho is led by four-string guitarist and vocalist Jeff Martin, an unflinching songwriter who gained comparisons to Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters), and Neil Young from the few journalists who paid attention. Despite the lack of recognition from the press and a low profile, Idaho gained a decent-sized underground following through a steady release schedule during...
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We Were Young and Needed the Money, Idaho
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