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No Old Guy Lo Fi Cry

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Album Review

Making the seemingly lateral jump from Columbus, OH-based Anyway Records to Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard's Rockathon, in 2000 the Midwest's most spirited punk rock institution, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, released what was to be their final record, No Old Guy Lo-Fi Cry. By far the best record of the TJSA catalog from a production standpoint, No Old Guy Lo-Fi Cry comes across as the band's angriest record since they debuted in 1995 with Bait & Switch, calling for the destruction of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The difference between this record and TJSA's earlier releases is that whereas those records are brimming with the literate, snide, sexed-up lyrics and in-crowd rage that have become typical in the rock scene (not that anything about TJSA's interpretation thereof was ever very typical), No Old Guy Lo-Fi Cry seems, at times, more sad, frustrated, and personal than those releases dared to be. House's lyrics seem to be coming less from the character of the self-righteous barfly he so often inhabits and instead from more personal experiences, glimpses of which also seemed to show through occasionally in his earlier outfit, Great Plains. Another major variation between this and earlier TJSA records is that the band is not playing at full tilt through the entire disc. Slower-tempoed songs, like "Hell" and "Homeowner's Blues," take things down a notch without sacrificing momentum. Whereas previous efforts had the feel of being fully realized albums, No Old Guy Lo-Fi Cry feels a little cut-and-paste, with songs like "Rock Tree Traffic" seemingly tacked on at the last minute. When in February of 2000, following an on-stage spat between House and Petric, the band abruptly announced that they would be breaking up after their next show, TJSA's devoted segment of the music community seemed shocked to see them go. However, it seems possible that the band knew Old Guy Lo-Fi Cry would be their swan song, as it features numerous lines hinting to the band's, or at least to Ron House's, growing disenchantment with his role as (only) an underground icon. Several songs spell out House's feelings in no uncertain terms, including "Zoned" ("I don't want to be known/As someone unknown") and "Homeowner's Blues" ("Local hero and anonymous/For him the two were synonymous/Aging barfly with a snob pretense"). The band reunited for two shows in 2001: One to benefit the family of the late Gaunt frontman Jerry Wick and the other to raise money to rebuild after Used Kids records burned down in June of 2001. It seems unlikely that a more permanent reunion is in the works. ~ Karen E. Graves, Rovi

Biography

Formed: Columbus, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Upon their formation in 1989, the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments immediately self-released a series of 7"s to their surroundings of Columbus, OH. With their array of noise-laced punk riffs, the four-piece of Ron House (vocals), Bob Petric (guitar), Ted Hattemer (drums), and Craig Dunson would eventually release their first full-album, entitled Bait and Switch, through Onion/American Records in 1995. After Anyway Records put out their follow-up record Straight to Video two years later,...
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No Old Guy Lo Fi Cry, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments
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