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Album Review

Tom Devaney was a Boston indie guitar-rocker in Betwixt (with Gordon Withers, who released an LP of Jawbox covers on cello), Jack Frosting, and Shimmy Disc's Bulkhead. This decade he's a reinvented Queens good guy making his "solo" debut. Having been produced by Kramer 13 prior, here he hooks up with the equally estimable Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu for production and bass. And though old bandmates keyboardist J. Johnson and drummer Chris Weinberg reappear (bussing from Beantown to Brooklyn for Maimone's sessions), Devaney plays appealing oddball acoustic folk-pop with accents of 80-year-old Americana country and blues. He cites Mississippi John Hurt, Ray Davies, Syd Barrett, and Love as loves, but this writer's thinking Leadbelly, Charlie Patton, and Skip James joining the Band for Meat Puppets covers. Devaney's thin, reedy voice fits his weirdo roots music, though one Western instrumental "Circuitous Goldstein" (like "Ghost Riders Meets the Sky" meets "Me and My Uncle"), and a more straightforward pop-tune, "Manager in Here," are standouts.

Customer Reviews

Some Early Press on Vis-a-vis

Given that in music, as in art criticism, critics assess (somewhat unfortunately) via pedigrees, I'm virtually obliged to mention here that this collection is produced and features bass by Tony Maimone, formerly of Pere Ubu, and features Tom Devaney (ex-Bulkhead and Betwixt). There is some intensely imaginative melodicism and dazed, yelping Americana on display here. Mostly because so many of these songs feature a type of creamy weirdness combined with an arch rootsiness—compare "Manager In Here" with something like "Open the Door, Homer" on the Basement Tapes and you'll have some reference for pinning down the sound, which is playful, yet tunefully fragile and often melodically halting in a strangely seductive way, as on "Bounty." The musicianship—this I was expecting—is brilliant. Arrangements and textures are superlative. Nor are hooks neglected out of avant-garde bullheadedness: "Literate Shoes" sounds like a psychedelicized version of Dire Straits; the title track channels "Marie's the Name" and The Soft Boys, maybe. But mere comparisons simply don't, can't, won't do this justice. Believe me: this belongs on every new music-lovers must-have list. (The Noise-Boston) "Folky, passionate indie-rock act Rotary Club is the brainchild of New York City singer-songwriter Tom Devaney. The band, which includes former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone is playing behind a catchy and subtly quirky disc." TimeOut NY "This is one of the best records I've ever played on." Tony Maimone


Luscious, verdant melodies couple with quirky ironic lyrics. This album is a must have! But really, why do German Shepards drag their legs?

Vis-à-vis, Rotary Club
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