This current lo-fi thing is fun, but it’s nothing new. As a reminder, longtime brainy singer-songwriter Franklin Bruno’s newest release, Local Currency: Solo 1992-1998, collects material from 7″‘s and compilations from the years noted. During Shrimper’s heyday, Bruno was one of my favorites via his solo material as well as his work with John Darnielle in the Extra Glenns and his full-band project Nothing Painted Blue. He was a kind of black sheep: Whereas Darnielle’s boombox hissing and howling captured the fuzzy aesthetic of the label and period (see also Refrigerator, Sentridoh, Goosewind, Paste, Wckr Spgt), something about Bruno’s work felt polished (and Ph.D’d) even if unintentionally (and even if he was guesting on everyone else’s tapes). If you’re unfamiliar with the work, Local Currency’s 21 tracks include a few Shrimper-related gems as well as material originally released by Walt, Sing, Eunuchs!, Baby Huey, Little Ted, etc. Fittingly on multiple levels, the five-song digital EP that accompanies the purchase of the collection includes fellow Shirimper luminary Lou Barlow tackling “Sit Back And Watch,” a song from the 1991 Suggestion Box cassette compilation. Sit back and listen.
Lou Barlow – “Sit Back And Watch” (MP3)
Local Currency is out via Fayettenam. Bruno penned track-by-track notes and Nation columnist Ange Mlinko wrote an essay. As far as the covers EP, the other takes are by Portastatic (who does “Tableaux Vivant”), Laura Cantrell, and Jennifer O’Connor.