FEBRUARY      23,      1995


PRIVATE IDAHO Jeff Martin wants you to know he’s not depressed. It s just that slow, mournful music has always had an eerie appeal for him. Martin is the musical and lyrical Svengali behind “This Way Out” the often moody, sometimes dirgelike sophomore effort by his band Idaho. Joined by Dan Seta (guitar), Jim Brown (bass), and Mark Lewis (drums) on the road, Idaho plays the kind of music that might lull you into a sense of security only to surprise you with a guitar-slap in the face. Martin cops to a closetful of the expected Influences—Neil Young, early Dinosaur Jr. and the Meat Puppets—but also an unexpected fascination with “melancholic jazz”: •Weather Report and the darker edges of Miles Davis, some of which float to the top in Idaho’s constantly evolving, rising-to-the-surface sound. “I’m always experimenting with new sounds because I still don’t really know why people play electric guitars and drums,” says Martin. “I realize that this dark stuff can get pretty heavy-handed and self-indulgent, so on the next record, we will take a further leap into the sunshine.”

After years of recording music for student films and a stint touring with David & David, Martin formed his own band, and at the suggestion of a friend in the band Iowa, settled on Idaho as a musical moniker. “It sounded a little like their name, which we thought would look funny on a bill, and it was also a nice, neutral non-statement of a name. Some people have commented on the name as a metaphor for living in LA., where there is a big city, but you are essentially alone, devoid of a cultural grouping. And the music itself is sort of vast and beautiful and a little lonesome, but I don’t know, it’s not really that deep.” Idaho opens for the Cranes on February 27 at Metro. (Gil Kaufman)