The Keith John Adams [myspace] third full length Unclever is being released by Athens, GA-based super-indie label Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. KJA's style is for the most part British power-pop, somewhat similar to Graham Coxon's (Blur) solo stuff, but more eccentric. I also hear a bit of Robyn Hitchcock, the jokey new-wave of Jilted John, and a bit of rockabilly. On tour he's been backed by both Casper & the Cookies and Tokyo's Elekibass. And KJA isn't afraid of some indie DIY experimenting with his songwriting - if you were one of the lucky people (and I was) who got one of the first 40 preorders of Unclever, you could submit a story of your own for KJA to write a song about. All 40 story-songs may be a bonus disk with Unclever, I'm not certain. There is some talk on the E6 board about putting out a vinyl edition of the 40 story-songs, possibly on People In A Position To Know Records. Mike from Olympia,WA-based (and soon to be Austin-based) PIAPTK was actually the impetus for the first song below, "Other Side of the Road", which features members of Casper and the Cookies as the backing band and which apparently KJA liked so much he's including it on Unclever. But originally this song appeared on a very limited 8" (along with a Casper & the Cookies original) which came out last year on PIAPTK, a clear lathe cut silkscreened vinyl with a hand-knitted album cover (pic & desc.), which I was lucky enough to grab. Mike wrote over at the E6 board: "Early one Sunday morning, Keith John Adams and Casper and the Cookies recorded a couple songs in my home studio in exchange for a place to sleep and some veggie pasta. One mic, in the middle of the room, no retakes/no overdubs."
And, I was one of the lucky 40 who got to have KJA write their story into a song. Like a sap, I just told him the story of me going to marry my wife, the only story that really matters to me. Luckily he didn't make it all sappy, he turned it into a proper Brit-pop song, and of all these story-songs I've heard so far, this is my favorite, although I don't think I can truly be objective. In the email with the song, Keith wrote: "It has a mad toy instrument solo I'm rather proud of!"
Matt from You Ain't No Picasso has posted his song, and Mike from Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records has mp3s of five more up at the brand new HHBTM blog, "Sloppy Loppy" may actually be the best one I've heard yet.
Order KJA's Unclever, straight from HHBTM for only ten bucks, and look out for a short U.S. tour sometime this year.
Thanks to flickr user chasingfun for the KJA picture, from Athens Popfest 2006.