A labour of love from Bridgetown Records’ head man Kevin Greenspon and his long time pal Jon Barba (here performing under his Nicole Kidman moniker), Already Dead features four scrappy pop-gaze ditties that strike a balance somewhere between the self-flagellation of Daniel Johnston and the raw goof whirligig of early ’90s punk.
Clocking in at less than 10 minutes, Already Dead isn’t going to win any prizes for originality but it sure makes up for it with heart and soul. Some of these tracks were created when Barba and Greenspon were living over 400 miles apart and penniless, but so determined were they to get it made they resorted to using old televisions as monitors and Oakland warehouse wood shops as studios. The beautiful raggedness of it all shines through, reflecting the impromptu LA shows for which the duo has amassed a following. The four songs here are apparent crowd favourites – ‘Already Dead’, ‘Southpaw’, ‘Thirst For God’ and the frantic instrumental ‘Girls School Punk Soda’ – and all of them whiz by with a fitting air of outsider charm. Simple keyboard patterns, tinny drum machines and Barba’s quivering vocals are what you get, all beaten black and blue by Greenspon’s faltering guitar. A lot of it sounds as though it was recorded through a wall or two, but that’s the idea (and quite possibly the truth) and it’s all the more heart warming for it.
There are eight additional tracks available to download when you buy the EP. None of these reach the dizzy heights of the original four, but ‘Open Book’ in particular is certainly worth a look-in. Whichever way you choose to roll, Already Dead might just become your summer night party soundtrack for the year.