US - New Jersey - Full Moon 82 - 06/14/03
A Grown-Ass Man
Another album by Yo La Tengo bass-man James McNew's one-man-band Dump - his fifth (?) so far.
And, yes; so far so good. Dump is DIY homebrew indie pop/rock. A Grown-Ass Man presents 13
songs, including three covers: Gerald Levert's "Mr. Too Damn Good", the Motown-oldie "Once Upon
a Time" - which was brought to fame by Mr. Marvin Gaye, and; a most charming "Cowboy Song" - by
Since Ira takes care of most of the song-writing in YLT it seems Dump is James' secret
garden/oasis/playground/greenhouse, to make his little songs come to life - where he cultivates
and grows them into vital plants. Rather peacefully, obscured/secured from most of the rest of
the world. Which is a shame, since this music deserve more than to be kept as underground I guess
it is. That said it's also pleasuring to comfort such a secret treasure. Enjoying the company of
Dump f.i. with some glasses of red wine. McNew's voice still sounds a bit like Neil Young's, and
on "Daily Affirmation" (with sweet Fontaine Toups of Versus on co-vocals. Fontaine and Sue Garner
are the only guest contributors on the album) he even brings some Young-like noise-sway. Most songs
are of a calmer nature, like the electronica-Velevet Undergroundy "Sisters", the waltzy "Peggy's
Blues", and "I'm On Your Side". Then he speeds up with the Bats-ish (á la "Made up in Blue"),
"The History of Love", followed by the likewise bouncy "Basic Cable". Vintage indie rock!
James' songs are so good I don't see the the point of bringing in any cover songs. Guess he must
be doing it solely for his own fun. "Mr. Too Damn Good" is a bit too slick (well, not slick but
still...slick), "Once Upon a Time" is too nice, BUT; it's really cool to hear "Cowboy Song" again.
Even though it's not far from the original. Lonesome cowboy James!
For the moment, only listening briefly to the latest YLT album, I find Dump as good, if not to say
better as my "old heroes". This record will be on my top ten list of 2003. Promise.
Copyright © 2003 Håvard Oppøyen