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COREY LANDIS (2007)

The "Corey Landis" record *hopefully* creates a new ground zero for Landis's work. It's an odd acoustic affair that is brought to life by incredible string and woodwind arrangements by film composer Joey Newman, as well as the ear of gifted mixer Greg Hayes. With his piano playing in the forefront, carrying off his trademark darkly humorous songwriting, the album recalls such '70s efforts as Elton John's self-titled release, Randy Newman's "Sail Away", Tom Waits's "Small Change" and the works of Biff Rose, David Forman, and David Ackles. This is the one to get people to sit up and take note.

 

"Supporting deep lyrical content and twisted chords, Landis manages to prove that heís a worthy songwriter thatís worth more than just a casual listen and cast-off."

--Smother.net [ Go There ]

"The album shows that he has a sort of off-hand capacity for high quality musical contributions. He probably hasn't fully realized himself with this, his third CD, but Corey is deep in ability and observational intelligence and here he provides more than ample evidence of both. One senses that he is going to be around for a long while yet."

--Rick Alan Rice (www.rarwriter.com) [ Full review ]

"Powerful lyrics combined with simple, beautiful accompaniment. This CD is a surprising treat...a songwriter's triumph."

--Indie-Music.com [ Go There ]

 

The track listing is as follows (click on a title to view the lyrics):

1     Welcome to the Limbo Lounge

2     So Right/So Wrong

3     Sherriene

4     For My Heart (and all the bereft)

5     'Till The Sun

6     Like Blind People Do

7     O.J. (Forget About It All)

8     A Message From Your Long Beach Circus       Recruitment Office

9     Clu Gulager

10   Heather's On Fire

11   Never Had My Heart Broken

12   The Alchemist

 






14 OLD MESSAGES (2005)

"14 Old Messages" is Landis' ambitious second platter. Landis sings his black heart out over all sorts of memories, both real and imagined, in musical settings both familiar and disorienting. Landis' self-mocking, mock-solipsistic lyrics and nostalgia-tinged new melodist pop evokes both the alleged golden age of singer-songwriter pathos AND sad-sack contemporaries Oberst, Barzelay and Wainwright.

Opening with a musically twisted answering machine message and ending with a heartrending ballad, "14 Old Messages" deftly swings between extremes of regret and quiet rebellion. It's telling that the album's emotional (and literal) centerpiece is "Old Friends", an astonishingly ambivalent generational kiss-off that unwittingly echoes old man (Loudon) Wainright's 1975 "Old Friend" then takes that sentiment to emotional extremes: "everyone grew up and old/and fat and tired and slow and cold/now they all live down on memory lane" before ultimately conceding that "all we have any more is the past."

Obsessively repulsed by that past, Landis writes as if discovering an old answering machine message from himself, only to discover that the "real world" they sold him as a kid never really existed, that the childhood heroes of all his favourite movies are suddenly the underdogs. (cf. "Where did it all go south/Who put those words in my mouth/How can we get clean/of the shit in which we're doused?" from "State of the Union"). If that sounds unbearably bitter, well fuck it, it probably is... but when wrapped in some of the sweetest, most melancholic pop of recent memory it makes for a compelling, hell, compulsively addicting listen. This is a guy whose idea of escape is asking his lover to put all her stuff in a shopping cart and go homeless with him ("We'll pick poison berries/and aluminum cans") and makes it sound not only winsome, but seductive.

One more stand-out track (amongst 14 songs, each with enough wry monologue for a screenplay) is "Shine", which begins promisingly enough with Landis dancing in the moonlight, warbling "every step I take/begins to shine" over an dance floor of illuminated disco tiles ("like it's the Billie Jean video/and I'm Mike with his old nose") before crashing head-first into the ultimate casting-couch-walk-of-fame dystopia: "Lie down/I'm gonna step on you/Gonna make you mine."

Like "Feast of Scraps", "14 Old Messages" was obsessively overdubbed by Landis in his home studio, with Landis singing and playing each and every note (including trumpet, guitar, and piano). "14 Old Messages" will hold your hair back as you vomit, commiserate as you cry, and laugh at you behind your back. While Corey Landis admittedly doesn't rewrite any rule books of pop songwriting, he clearly loves scribbling in the margins.

 

"...catchy pop...I think with a little help this kid could become the next great singer/songwriter of our generation."

--Smother.net [ Go There ]

 

"Sort of reminds me of that Billy Bragg/Beautiful South/EBTG 80's period of really melancholy horn-driven pop. Or maybe a bizzaro-world Fountains of Wayne. It's a really heartbreakingly beautiful pop record like they don't make 'em."

--Dan Bryk

 

"Corey Landis has got the Antifolk Indie thing down with some Piano flourishes and he probably doesnít even know it.  Pretty cool for an LA Indie artist, huh? Corey would actually fit into a few other musical classifications but who really wants to box artists into one or two Genres when they donít even do it to themselves? Just accept this is good music that you should be hearing everywhere, and call your local radio station and tell them to get Hip."

--RadioMike [ Go There ]

 

The track listing is as follows (click on title to view lyrics):

1     Perpetually Sad (Intro) - no lyrics

2     Postcards

3     Going Home

4     So Long

5     Homeless With Me

6     Confessions of a Cruise Ship Captain

7     My Baby Shouldn't Be Allowed To Drink

8     Old Friends

9     State of the Union

10   Shine

11   The Other Shoe

12   Springtime In Reverse

13   You and Salieri

14   Red



FEAST OF SCRAPS (2003)

"Feast of Scraps" is Landis' debut release on the Canadian songwriter collective/label Urban Myth Recordings. Although Landis himself is not Canadian, he has attended several hockey games and was asked by acclaimed songwriter and Canuck Dan Bryk to be a part of his exclusive group of singer-songwriters after hearing an advance copy of "Feast."

"Feast" was written, arranged, performed, and produced by Landis in his home studio over the course of about six months. It's a lo-fi, acoustic chronicle of frustration, failure, and the trying to hold on to something when everything around appears to be crumbling.

The record is available at CD Baby, Amazon, Tower Records and various retail outfits.

 

 

"Ed: Darkly moody songs in a drunken manner. Excellent lyrics, interesting musicality, depth and soul.

Edd: Rollicking DIY blues folk. Gritty and real. Great lyrics. I will buy him a drink.

Eddy: The words are prolific... the singing makes me want to run screaming from the room.

Plank: It's like Bono singing Tom Waits, or is it Tom Waits singing Bono?... with a swagger."

--HybridMagazine.com [ go there ]

 

**** 1/2" (out of five)

--SouthOfMainstream.com [ full review ]

 

 

"Born on the day Elvis Presley died, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Corey Landis joins the ranks of great troubadours like Warren Zevon and Tom Waits with his debut solo full-length.

All 11 songs were recorded at home, mastered by Landis, and picked up by the Canadian indie label Urban Myth Recordings. The accompaniment consists of keyboards, the occasional guitar, and once in a while some overwrought percussion.

The real instrument is Landis's voice, as he belts out semi-comic lyrics that would be poetry if they didn't rhyme. Well, maybe the hidden track, the "I Will Fuck You" song, wasn't very poetic, but great songwriters are few and far between.

The only real drawbacks to this disc are Landis's own overproduction of some of the songs and a few of the scratchy background noises.

Like troubadours of old, his dark, ironic lyrics work best against a minimal background of the lone piano or a single acoustic guitar. This is an artist who can dominate any small venue and who should be recording gems like this in a much better studio than his living room. -DUG"

--SkratchMagazine.com [ go there ]

The track listing is as follows (click on a title to view the lyrics):

1     I'll Never Buy You Flowers

2     The Wedding of the Century

3     Happy

4     Junior High

5     You & Your Six Sleeping Brides

6     Scene From an Alaskan Draft Board

7     Song for Mr. Novelli

8     Something Good

9     Missed

10   New Year

11   Tonight on FOX

 

 

Corey fittingly shares a birthday with Charles Bukowski and a deathday with Elvis Presley. Whether or not he chooses to admit it ...

(more)

"14 Old Messages" on
Urban Myth Records

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"Feast of Scraps" on
Urban Myth Records

Get It Online: