CD Review: "Pre-Emptive Skankery Sessions"

CD: Pre-Emptive Skankery Sessions
ARTIST: J Marinelli

It’s no surprise that J Marinelli, the Morgantown native and Lexington transplant, would release his Pre-Emptive Skankery Sessions exclusively on vinyl; you may recall he released his Stone Age Kicks cover collections on cassette.

It also won’t surprise anyone who’s followed Marinelli that Commodity Fetish Analogue is, in keeping with Marinelli’s DIY ethic, entirely his own label.

Longtime fans of Marinelli will recognize the songs on Skankery; retooled versions of songs you’ve heard on Pity The Party, Keep It Fake, heard him play live, or listened to over and over again on his MySpace page.

Fourteen songs, two sides, 29 minutes, one man, and one pre-emptive doctrine.

Marinelli brings his angry one-man band’s version of rockin’ stomp and swing back on Skankery. Soaked in reverb, echo and distortion, and armed with his kazoo and harmonica, Marinelli’s songs, likened in the past to English pub rock, are above all catchy as heck.

Part champion of the proletariat, part busker, all Appalachian punk rock hero, Marinelli’s lyrics cover his own cultural observations, from the music scene and punk rock fashionistas, to friends, and society as a whole.

Like on Stone Age Kicks Vol. I and II, Marinelli, on his songs, with his own music, from beginning to end and throughout, weaves his own narrative.

Opening with “Rebel Without Applause” and “Hey Pinkerton” gives Pre-Emptive Skankery a live set feel, as Marinelli always seems to play these songs back to back at the live shows.
“Too many nights of the sound of one hand clapping just for you/‘brace each new wave and count the days till the big corporate rescue
Here’s where we’d part company if company had once been made/Unmaligned, but so defined from your shoes up to your shades.”
Boom. Every time “Rebel Without Applause” starts, it means it’s time to get awesome.

The abrasiveness of “Rebel” gives way to the subdued “Pinkerton,” with more acerbic Marinelli lyrics, as he describes playing for the same one hand clapping, possibly some kind of thug life guy:
“Maybe all your patrons see
That you’re as fake as Fox TV
You ain’t outside of any
Norm, construct, or system”
I’ll always remember the first time I heard Marinelli play “She’s My Cheerwine” at the Empty Glass several years back. It’s a great song; the muted riffage, the pounding kick drum and snare, and Marinelli’s repetitive la-la-la’s had the song in my head, and kept it there long after the show was over. Marinelli ends the song in huge rock song drum roll fashion.

Two more obscure (obscure in the sense they are not on any previous CDs) Marinelli songs on the record, “Comrade K” and “The Ballad of Eddie Freedom” fill out side one and spell out where Marinelli is coming from. On “Comrade K,” singing through what sounds like a slicer or limiter or something, Marinelli sings of the Magic Town scene:
“Nobody here is hopeful, comrade
The kids are their own marketplace
Give me anyone (who) can make his or her own fun
by groping toward a brighter place”

“Have we all grown uptight on our scene's cellulite?
No patience -- no time for heroes?
Even duct tape and flyers, even gas-money kindness
Even rightness -- says me -- can be a selling point too
Even rightness -- says me -- can be a commodity too
Even rightness -- says me -- can be a spectacle too”
“Weak Enuff” used to be called “My Mythology” but like so many Marinelli songs, has undergone a slight tinkering, but it is a great version.

The revolutionary “Last Year’s Party” is one of the more somber, powerful songs on the record.
“Oh mindless child of Late Capitalism
Son of Post-modernity

Better dry your hand of Coors Light condensation
Grab a Molotov or three”
Side Two of the record kicks off with “No Kind of Fun,” and Marinelli’s cover of Slate Dump’s “Pop Bottle Pete and Beercan Bud,” really a swingin’ ditty.

Marinelli again exhorts his Magic Town cohorts to keep the scene alive on “Keep Morgantown Weird” and dials back on his “salty version” of “Pity the Party,” a sober look at fake acquaintances and fresh anecdotes.

The scene gets euthanized it seems on “Your Ethos (Is Like a Drug To Me),” with Marinelli pulling the plug.

The jewel of the record is the unplugged version of “Pomade Years” -- no drums, no caveman guitar, just Marinelli with a harmonica and his own voice, sans effects, singing about fakery.
“Your hype
is larger than life
delusional tripe
forcefed by the forces”

“That bring
your weakness to light
so afraid that you might
meet the you that we once knew”
Skankery is a great introductory collection of songs for people who may just be coming across Marinelli. There’s also something for longtime Marinelli fans. This is a record that I’ve been wanting to hear for like two years or something, and the wait was worth it.

Marinelli has made his own scene. In the form of a one-man band, with a kick, a snare, and a high-hat, his kazoo, harmonica and guitar, Marinelli is not just some novelty act; he is what punk rock is all about.

When so many acts seem contrived, relying on their own smoke and mirrors, Marinelli is one of the realest things going.

To borrow some lyrics from “Eddie Freedom,” J Marinelli is a true sound of liberty.

Online: Pre-Emptive Skankery Sessions on Bandcamp. Order the vinyl LP and receive a free download of Pre-Emptive Skankery Sessions.

Related: http://wvrockscene.blogspot.com/2010/02/lake-and-ocean-wj-marinelli-sound.html, When the man comes to town, Marinelli Does Morgantown, CD Review: Stone Age Kicks

PSS art: Eli Pollard

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