Ten in the Swear Jar Accordion Solo!

[Asian Man; 2005]

Styles: cuckoo-clock rock heavy on rubbery synths, effects, and womanly screaming
Others: Xiu Xiu (hello dingleberry), The Robot Ate Me, Frog Eyes, Larsen

Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart has never regurgitated the standard quirk-rock. More apt to shriek than to shout, Stewart gargles, swallows, and spews out the template of his contemporaries with aplomb, often leaving himself as many detractors as fans. As if he needed a reason to render his balls even more salty, Stewart is now releasing his older, ass-reaming Ten In The Swear Jar work with Accordion Solo! ...And that twelve-inch he mentions in "San Jose Fight Song" (this reviewer's hometown, hiyo!) ain't fake, kids, and neither is the accordion!

Save the chirp 'n' croak of the unnecessary field recordings, Accordion Solo! presents a compelling alter ego to counteract the clucking of one of indie-rock's favorite chickens (or the 'cock of the walk,' if you really wanna drag this metaphor into the ground). Stewart slaps us across the face with a steamy "Hot Karl," knees us in the groin with even more obnoxious synth/sound effects work, and lets his freak flag fly higher than the heavens. Not to say this is necessarily zanier than his work with Xiu Xiu; some of these songs are downright rockin' compared to those acid-induced lullabies found on A Promise, peeling back the layers of Stewart's squealing persona 'til there's nothing left but boot-stomping rhythms and a heaviness that transcends mere metal.

Delving further into the crannies of Ten In The Swear Jar's compelling, crestfallen coos, "Gauntlet of Thor the Destroyer" mingles with melodica sync'd perfectly with drone-y synths and saxophone, while "Helsabot" waltzes into our hearts with a curious charm who Xiu Xiu's more dedicated fans might recognize, laced with descriptions of an "alcohol-fueled robot" and the question we've all had to ask ourselves after crashing somewhere random and waking up with a soiled dickie (and later lying about it): "Do your pants ever just fall off?"

A cogent question, folks -- believe-you-me -- and for that matter, an amazingly coherent album even despite the dullard live tracks tacked on to the end like so many deleted scenes in a Jack Black/Ben Stiller movie (but these aren't funnier/better than the feature presentation). Far from an incidental side project, Accordion Solo! is calculated, cocksure, and soiled like a bona fide dumpster mattress with all sorts of beautiful yellow, orange, and brown taint/mung stains.

1. Malafuquan a Espana
2. Hot Kari
3. San Jose Fight Song
4. I Don't Play The Drumz
5. Gauntlet Of Thor The Destroyer
6. For Awesome Drunk Tank
7. Helsabot
8. Famine
9. I Love The Valley
10. Leg Show
11. King Earth
12. Melon
13. When You Write
14. Worry Boy
15. Sita Deth
16. House Quake II
17. Sad Girl
18. In The Blue Trunks J.H

19. Accordion Solo! - (live)
20. Gauntlet Of Thor The Destroyer - (live)
21. I Love The Valley - (live)
22. House Quake II - (live)

Most Read