February 17, 2003

Idaho, We Were Young and We Needed the Money, (Idahomusic)

An odds and sods release from a relatively obscure cult band ain't exactly what get-rich record company schemes are made of. But for those curious about what L.A. singer/songwriter Jeff Martin has been up to for the past decade, We Were Young and We Needed the Money is a decent place to start. Despite drawing from an array of sources and time periods, it has a consistently downbeat tone throughout. Like his vocal doppelganger J. Mascis, Martin is a limited songwriter who is most inspired when he was an actual band around him. The best material here comes from sessions for 1996' s Three Sheets to the Wind with guitarist Dan Seta, bassist Terry Borden and drummer Mark Lewis. These songs are at the beginning of We Were Young and We Need the Money and bring a much-needed shot of variety and vitality. The rest of the 17-song compilation, recorded mostly by Martin alone, is standard rumbly mumbly indie rock.

Steven Hyden

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