This doesn’t happen often, but for once I received and listened to the physical copy of a record before its digital release. I’m talking about the new Local Drags LP Mess of Everything – out now through Stardumb (LP) and Memorable But Not Honorable (Tape). I guess Stefan Stardumb was in a hurry to make some much needed room in his office, with all those highly anticipated boxes of Apers and Groovie Ghoulies vinyl reissues lying around.
Pre-ordering the new Local Drags (essentially a solo project by Lanny Durbin) was a no-brainer. I loved his two previous Local Drags albums, as well as his recent release with Starter Jackets. Mess Of Everything marks a new step in Durbin’s career. It’s not a giant leap, this still very much is a Local Drags LP. But it is noticeably different from Keep Me Glued and Shit’s Looking Up. Like the artwork, Mess Of Everything is more abstract, more colorful, and less easy to grasp in a couple of listens. While Durbin draws from a punkrock lineage, he has created something contemporary and fresh without losing any of his melodic touch. Mess of Everything sees Durbin exploring different instruments (is that a slide guitar?), tones and take a more ambitious and layered approach. Luke McNeill (The Copyrights, Starter Jackets, Hospital Job) did a great job recording this record as well.
One of the strengths of Local Drags has always been the stripped down quality of the songs that automatically find their way underneath your skin. Mess Of Everything offers deeper levels to explore. Standout songs like Good For Nothin and Total Down, two songs that mark the end of Side A and start of Side B (ending one side and starting another on a high note, I love that sequence), are great examples of Durbin broadening his songwriting to something bigger, with great harmonies to sooth your soul and tickle your ears.
Mess of Everything is not a copy of Keep Me Glued and Shit’s Looking Up. It shows growth and a fearlesness to mix things up. The result is a truly great indiepunk/indierock record that still gets better with each spin.