Various - Soak Your Shoes in Red Wine and Strike the Angels Dumb (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Soak Your Shoes in Red Wine and Strike the Angels Dumb (2003)

Grand Theft Autumn

To start off today, a couple of definitions.

  • Grand Theft Autumn: Record company run out of Urbana/Champaign, IL (i.e. cornfields) by ex-members of Braid, and Adam Fein of Absinthe Blind.
  • Soak Your Shoes in Red Wine and Strike the Angels Dumb: excessively long title (taken from lyrics on the last song of the album) for GTA's first compilation release showcasing some talent that you've probably never heard before.

    This album opens with the now defunct Shiner covering My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shallow." A cover that may not shock and awe listeners at first, but is a fairly decent and accurate cover of an amazing song. You can't really go wrong with MBV, but hey, this album doesn't stop, they've also got Jimi Shields (brother of Kevin Shields [MBV fame]) contributing a song. This comp keeps everything as close to the family as possible, with three tracks by ex-Lassie Foundation members as well as three tracks from ex-Mercury Rev members (which includes the track Jimi Shields contributes with Suzanne Thorpe). Not to mention a track by Shielbound (current Hey Mercedes guitarist Mike Shumaker's old band). Oh yes, and a track from Camden (ex-The Promise Ring). With all the ex's, formers, and families sorta out, its on to the content, which this comp has in spades.

    The flow of a compilation is really important and this is perfectly put together. It's somewhat a copout to open with "Only Shallow" when it was also the opener on the timeless MBV album "Loveless," but that could just be a personal opinion that you shouldn't use the opening track from an album as an opener on a compilation or mix CD. From the opening track, the album builds it's way up to track nine, Frank Lenz's "All my Stoner Friends" where it picks up the tempo for a few songs before slowly coming back down. Lenz's contribution is a twangy little song that makes the listener tap his or her foot and want to dance around a bit. "Sweaty Cigarette" by Duraluxe sounds influenced by Elliott Smith circa Either/Or. Duraluxe's song is followed by Scott Allen's "Computer Adios" which also has a sound influenced by Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. Both tracks stand out as high points of this comp.

    This compilation really contains stellar indie rock talent that isn't too well known. Every single song displays loads of promise. Wayne Everett (ex-Lassie Foundation) performs a song entitled "A Million Leaves" that starts off with an acoustic guitar and slowly builds into an intricate arrangement with horns and then ends quietly. One really great thing about this album was the pairing of male and female vocals on a number of the tracks that just gives the music a much more sensual sound. This is especially true on the Absinthe Blind track, "The Truth That Paints Your Eyes." Most of the songs on this tracks on this comp can be described as somewhat ethereal and lush, it's a very relaxing album to listen to. Definitely something to pick up when you get the chance.