CD: J Marinelli/Elsinores split cassette
ARTIST: J Marinelli
What the hell is wrong with us? Why haven’t we reviewed J Marinelli’s half of his recently released cassette split with fellow Lexington rockers The Elsinores?
Do we think fawning over Marinelli’s sometimes weird, sometimes trashy but always awesome one-man version of “maximum stomp and swing” will make us look bad? Maybe. Do we ask our own questions and then answer them? Sometimes.
But yeah it’s weird; of all the bands we’ve covered there’s never been a definitive J Marinelli article or post or whatever, and it sucks because he’s really our favorite rocker. If you’re constantly going around telling people that you’re way more punk than such and such, well, Marinelli is punk rock and DIY personified.
A few of the 10 songs found on the split won’t be unfamiliar to Marinelli fans. Again showing his penchant for revisiting and re-working his songs, the stripped down, less swingin’ version of “4,000 More Years” (originally only 400 years on his Pity The Party EP) stands out and seems more charming and almost endearing looking back on what most people agree is the worst presidency ever. Four more years? On that day in 2005, for some, it seemed like 4,000, and it seemed like world war three was imminent.
This softer sounding side (hear “Month of Mondays”) is the yin to Marinelli’s “caveman guitar” yang. Whether it’s “the scene” (and his place in it or apart from it) or the interweaving friendships and/or (mainly) animosities found therein, (the rollicking opener “Ricky Loud’s Big Choice”) Marinelli pulls no figurative punches, lyrically or sonically.
The sauntering jam “Countrypolitan” stands out, with Marinelli again opining on the scene and certain segments of it:
“Back where I don’t come from the scene ain’t been much fun/in a deep freeze around these fuckin’ middle aged babies/replete with infantile fashions oral fixations and poor life choices/sick strata of a slick niche market/wide glass ceiling revealing nothing.”
The rockin’ “Butt-Hurt Frat Priest” is maybe the one song that approaches Marinelli’s class-consciousness type bent. 28-year old “popped collar” privileged fraternity members will vote this song worst of 2012. But it’s one of the best songs on the split.
Not sure what “Post Up” is about but it’s as psychobilly as you’ll ever hear Marinelli.
Think Marinelli is beholden to the punk rock elite? “Captain Integrity” not only appears to be a swift “U.R. Dismissed” to Ian MacKaye, (“autographed my friend’s Minor Threat EP/he’ll e-bay it next week to make his rent money/selling punk nostalgia keeps you so busy/I guess that’s why you didn’t see me when I played in DC”) …but it sounds like it would’ve fit well on 2010’s Pre-Emptive Skankery Sessions, a record that, after what almost two years, after repeated listens, we’re just going to go ahead and say it: it’s surpassed or at least equaled Keep It Fake in total awesomeness.
One neat thing that Marinelli’s included on the bandcamp page is the lyrics. So not only can you sing along, you’ll appreciate the stories he’s telling and better appreciate what we think is a mature vision of “the scene,” friendships, and oh yeah punk rock. Marinelli’s vocals are often kind of hard to decipher, singing through various delay effects or at volume levels somewhere past “10” (and sometimes simultaneously), so if you know what he’s singing it will mean more to you.
Sometimes the thought briefly crosses our collective mind here that on first look, people at a bar or wherever seeing Marinelli for the first time will see him sitting behind his makeshift drum kit, banging on his guitar and see a kazoo or harmonica, wearing a raccoon skin hat, and think he’s something of a no-talent busker; it’s not always easy for one-man bands. Hear “Rebel Without Applause” and “Hey Pinkerton” on PSS for Marinelli’s thoughts on that.
But J Marinelli is no joke. There are tons of bands out there. Who’d have thought that this one guy would or could mean so much to us? That he would in essence be our favorite band? Maybe it’s a suggestive thing; that Marinelli so easily loses himself in his performances, rocking out, that you simply can’t help but feel the same, and you’ll soon be up shaking your ass and pumping your fists.
Maybe we’ll end up doing the definitive J Marinelli interview. When we talk to him we’ll thank him for keeping rock and roll relevant and rebellious. If punk rock ever needed a slap in the face or a kick in the ass, Marinelli is the man for the job.