Mayday Bushido Karaoke

[Saddle Creek; 2005]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: singer/songwriter, indie pop-rock, alt-country
Others: Lullaby for the Working Class, The Good Life

Mayday's Ted Stevens is one of Saddle Creek's longest-standing veterans, playing in Lullaby for the Working Class in the late '90s and doing time in Cursive as well. Neither Lullaby nor Mayday, Stevens' current band, made much of a ripple outside of Stevens' native Nebraska. You see, Stevens' bands have never rode the teen music craze wave the way his labelmates have. No goth-dance like the Faint, no fashionable emo like Bright Eyes or Cursive. Instead, Stevens is all about the bluesy, country-tinged singer-songwriter pop/rock. Hipsters listen and shrug. I've listened, I'm listening, and frankly, I too have to shrug. This is occasionally pretty, but always pretty boring.

On Bushido Karaoke, Mayday's third album, if you can believe it, Stevens plays through 12 originals and 2 covers -- one of Gillian Welch's "I'm Not Afraid to Die" and one of INXS's "Old World New World." Don't get your hopes up, though -- even with vintage '80s material, Stevens still manages to make the INXS song sound like one of his own mid-tempo folk-rock numbers. Maybe it's the earnest but bland delivery, the overdone instrumentation, or just the lack of anything new in the songwriting to catch one's ears, but Mayday doesn't give the listener much reason to care. Saddle Creek fans will look elsewhere, and so, unfortunately, should the rest of us.

1. Pelf Help
2. Booze & Pills
3. Standing In Line At The Gates Of Hell
4. Continental Grift
5. Old World New World
6. Hidden Leaves
7. Father Time
8. I'm Not Afraid To Die
9. Rock And Roll Can't Save Your Life
10. Burned My Hands
11. Dave D. Blues (How To Make It Sting Like A Career)
12. Billy Boy Blues (Day Of The Dead Blues)
13. Exquisite Corpse
14. Song Of The Scaffold