The scene: a smoky, hole-in-the-wall bar on the Mexican border, 2 pm. A wasted gringo is backed by a 60-year old mariachi band. They play to an empty room. After a while, the gringo passes out on the floor and the saxophonist and drummer switch instruments. Calvin Johnson walks in and promptly signs the band to his K Records. That band is Old Time Relijun.
Notably recorded on the Jewish high-holy day of Yom Kippur, La Sirena de Pecera is a truly bizarre collection of lo-fi rants in Spanish and Portuguese, depressing Daniel Johnston-like nursery rhymes, and bad jazzy experimentation. There are no standout tracks, although “Circiut Breaker” (sic) starts off like that Phil Spector tune, “And Then He Kissed Me,” and “Caught At the Door (with the Keys in My Hand)” features gems of lyrics such as “what’s that hiding in there, a skeleton dancing in his underwear.”
While K specializes in this type of thing, I wish they’d put out more rockin’ records by the likes of Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live, or even rap supergroup, Black Anger. Err, or maybe not.
As we return to our setting, the lush has picked himself up and has taken his original position at the bar, staring at a dirty TV screen, while Tammy Wynette croons about “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” on the jukebox.
// Notes from the Road
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