Micah P. Hinson The Baby and the Satellite EP

[Jade Tree; 2006]

Styles: achingly delivered folk-y alt-country/Americana dashed with a little rock
Others: Willy Mason, Wovenhand, Normanoak, Handsome Family, Magnetic Fields

I don't make it a habit to laugh out loud at work when I'm sitting alone at my computer, but leafing through press packets is just too much fun! You may not know this, gentle reader, but EVERY BAND IN THE WORLD sounds like either: a) My Bloody Valentine, b) Gang Of Four, c) Neutral Milk Hotel, or d) The Velvet Underground. The reason I know is because publicists tell me so. These same publicists also love to throw around certain descriptors, one of the most common being "weather-worn," which means a young artist sounds like he's a 50-year-old cuss with dirty cowboy boots and a pack of Marbs in his shirt pocket. They push this idea all the time. I think they even threw that descriptor into a Bright Eyes promo pack just to see if anyone was paying attention.

What a joke.

Then I heard Micah P. Hinson and realized that this description can, in fact, be accurate every once in a great while. The Baby and the Satellite is Hinson's "isolate yourself in a barn and drink Brandy all day with a local legend's widow" album. Not every musician has made this sort of album; listen to this nine-track EP for the reason. Hinson's sad as a forest of weeping willows and cut deeper than your mom's kitchen cutting board. His songs are worn as an old catcher's mitt, his voice ragged and frayed as a seventh-generation pushbroom. Incidentally, he's also drunk as a pauper skunk that can only afford Pabst Blue Ribbon.

This experiment might not have been good for Hinson's demeanor or health, but his songs from this era dislodge unwanted mental plankton like a super-sized toothpick, with little but acoustic guitar, occasional drumming, and the odd xylophone providing a buffer between us and his cough-hacked, cracked inflection. It's impossible not to root for him. His lyrics are honest, direct, sad, and more than a little torn; Hinson's a bitter buffalo, and he's a helluva songwriter to boot. Like only the best phlegm-chewing crooners, his voice comes off as ugly upon first listen but endears itself to the ear over repeated washes.

This bluesy wash of country-tinged folk isn't for everyone, but if your town's too hot (Hinson's from Texas), or your beer's acidic enough to plow through brick, or your old lady smashed you over the head with a waffle iron and ran off with a townie, you'll likely find quite a haven in Micah P.'s world of rejection, stale tears, and loneliness. [PS: Unload all guns in the house before you throw this in]

1. The Dreams You Left Behind
2. Wasted Away
3. The Leading Guy
4. Or Just Rearrange
5. For Your Eyes
6. The Last Chance Of Lt. Paul
7. The Day The Volume Won
8. The Dreams You Left Behind (Reprise)
9. The Baby And The Satellite

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