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The Hate Yourself Change

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Album Review

As Omaha, Nebraska creeps slowly closer to becoming to folksy singer/songwriters what Seattle was to grunge, with Saddle Creek as the movement's Sub Pop, Conor Oberst playing the roll of star-child Kurt Cobain and the Faint somehow wedged in by the media, expect to find Sidecho Records and Neva Dinova in the sidebar of some major media article. Not exploding on to the national stage, but in many ways more worthy than their civic counterparts. Guitarist/vocalist Jake Bellows has an enigmatic quality that is hard to forget, switch hitting between solo acoustic ache on the opener "Hat O'er Eyes" to whiskey-still crooner on "Yellow Datsun" where he proclaims "I got morphine in my sleeves. Got some stars in my eyes." On the country dirge of "The Champion," these characters, who include bassists Heath Koontz, drummer Roger Lewis and guitarists Tim Haes and Mike Kratkey could easily be mistaken for Americana figureheads Wilco, but for the dark ambience that fills the gaps between the gingerly strummed Fender telecasters and warbling vintage vibrato. The Hammond takes the lead on "Can't Wait To See You," with the minor-key sorrow given to this sort of backwoods songwriting. Add in the classic line on "Cold Call," "I dream of murder, and you," and you've got one clear case of the poor white-boy blues, but with the male choral of "The worlds a sh*tty place and I can't wait to die" on "I've Got a Feeling," you can't help but snicker. Emo-folk with its heart in the reverb.


Formed: 1993

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Dreamy and sparse, delicate and moody, these are the elements that make Neva Dinova a memorable experience. Often lumped in with other groups that came along at the same time (including the Faint and Bright Eyes), the band actually started in 1993 at the height of the slowcore movement, a collaboration between guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Jake Bellows and bassist Heath Koontz. Making similarly airy and spacy music, the band tightened its sound live before a disastrous gig in Omaha shook up...
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The Hate Yourself Change, Neva Dinova
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