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Jeffrey and Jack Lewis

City & Eastern Songs (Rough Trade)

Jeffrey Lewis could be Jonathon Richman's angry little brother. He crams songs with twice as many words as they should have and undermines himself as the ultimate anti-rock star; self-effacing, he airs every embarrassing, parenthetical thought as a preemptive strike against himself. Anything you can criticize, he's already noticed with far more wit. Long corralled in with the "anti-folk" movement, Lewis's music seems far less arch and intentionally bizarre. The sweet melodies that lie beneath his acoustic guitar and the punk freakouts that he and his brother erupt into on City & Eastern sound strange only for their profound ordinariness. Jeffrey is the poet laureate of the pedestrian, writing songs about getting humped by Will Oldham, wondering who took down some of his posters and talking down an angry girlfriend in the aquarium. He gets the beauty in the frayed and vulnerable ways our minds unwind. The lo-fi blending of punk and folk, along with the magical realism of the earnest lyrics, make City & Eastern a flea-market treasure of a record.

 
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