We Were Young and Needed the Money
For all intents and purposes, Idaho is Jeff Martin, and as Idaho he has been releasing music for a decade now, and somehow over the years these 17 tracks slipped through the cracks, which is surprising, considering how strong much of this material is. Gathered from rehearsal tapes, songs recorded in Martin's house and other locations, this is a good mix of old and new.
Idaho has been known at times as a leading example of the "slowcore" movement, and while elements of that could be found on their albums such as Alas or last years Levitate, you won't find much slow or subtle in this collection of songs. Sounding more Dino Jr. than Low, Martin and a bevy of strident guitars ring out on these cuts, and pulse with a nervous energy that longtime fans might find surprising. The earlier cuts, such as 1992's "Carefully Turning" show a songwriter getting ready to bloom, and by the latter cuts, Martin sounds comfortable enough to toss away the J. Mascis cloak he had worn, and let his own distinctive voice carry the song. While this collection of songs doesn't sound particularly like an album proper (these sorts of "odds and ends" releases seldom do), its release will satisfy longtime fans and perhaps entice new ones. Which would be a good thing, because one imagines that Martin and Idaho still need the money.
Retrophonic Records: http://www.retrophonic.com
this review is/was online at Ink 19
and is available here for archival purposes only