The ‘Narc’s 50 Favorite Records Of The Aughts

November 30, 2009 at 7:07 am (Uncategorized)

49. The Cobbs, Sing The Deathcapades (2006)

If I ran into you at one point in 2003, there’s a really good chance I told you how awesome the album Howl by The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was. In hindsight, Howl was a good record, but the only record by Philly’s rather name-crossed The Cobbs does everything the BRMC did over the course of their career–and takes one album to do it all better.

Pity The Cobbs. Brothers Paul and Ryan Cobb started their career off recording as Ty Cobb which drew just enough notice from two albums to get them a cease & desist from the late ballplayer’s estate. After trying out life under the name Mad Action, the band finally settled on the nom de rock The Cobbs, a natual name that unfortunately evokes thoughts of them being one of a thousand half-assed No Depression bands making the rounds.

The Cobbs are not a bluegrass band. They’re part of the rich Philadelphia psych-pop scene that produced great artists like The Asteroid #4 and Lilys/Kurt Heasley. Most folks on an early listen will hone right in on a similarity to the BRMC on Deathcapades, but to my mind they outdo the more-famous band in almost every way here. The Cobbs have an unerring songwriting crafstman’s sense, which gives songs like “Lo Chey” and “Meia” a feel not unlike what you’d get if The Beatles had recorded Revolver at the far end of a desperate tether. The album turns a very nifty trick of stacking piles of melodic hooks and catchy melodies atop one another without ever resorting to guitar-pop cliches. As the title suggests, this is an album shot through with darkness and a sort of crazy-at-the-edges malevolence that comes searing through on the slide-from-hell song “Say You Never Knew Me” or the devastating leer of “Climb On Top”, which starts off sounding like the evillest song the Gun Club never recorded before exploding into a chorus you’ll be humming all day.

As good as these songs are–and they’re utterly tremendous, nary a weak number among the bunch–what makes this record one of the best of the decade is the incredible production. Belying its rather humble origins, Deathcapades is one of the most-expensive-sounding and interesting production jobs in my entire record collection. In fact, if you crank your stereo headphones to unhealthily loud levels and listen to “Don’t Walk”, you’ll hear one of the most amazing, over-the-top, spine-tingling music bridges recorded during the decade, and what sends it into the stratosphere is the amazing production–chiming guitars swirl over buzzing, snorting, bass…while the drums sound as if drummer Chris Coello is smashing his kit to absolute flinders. Don’t miss this album, folks.

“Say You Never Knew Me”
“Don’t Walk”
“Climb On Top”

(Also, you could once hear the whole album and order it from Apollo Audio right here, but that link has been broken for a little while now. I know the guy from AA occasionally reads this, and hopefully it might be fixed (and Apollo is a *treee-mendous place to order and discover new music from, btw.)

49. The Cobbs, Sing The Deathcapades (2006)
50. The Bangles, Doll Revolution (2003)

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