John Wesley Coleman - Bad Lady Goes To Jail (Goner)
Who is John Wesley Coleman? He describes himself as "garbage collector, golden boy." Those four words might fit him best. Coleman currently makes pizzas in Austin, Texas, lives in weird territory, and is part of an invisible, non-scene made up of his other Austin band Golden Boys, North Carolina's Spider Bags and Memphis' Limes--all groups with their own takes on sprawling, psychedelic, country-tinged rock. The artists he covers, largely street-level commentators of life below the poverty line, are telling; on his last album, Steal My Mind, he did Lester Bangs and Warren Zevon songs; this time, it's Nikki Sudden. Of course, a few years back he released a completely blasted version of George Michael's "Faith" that was seen as a piss-take but actually spoke to Wes' mindset. Coleman has been compared to Lou Reed, Mr. Bangs, Daniel Johnston and even Pavement, who adopted some of the spaciousness of country life after their initial spizzle grotted out. But who wants to hear Pavement now? Owning cars that don't break down makes one complacent, and luckily Coleman hasn't had to deal with that yet. Hanging out at bus stops gives the man with eyes a whole lot of material to work with. Bad Lady Goes to Jail covers a whole variety of desires, from Coleman's desire for police to stop assaulting him to the desire to dance with his woman, to the less-specific "Something in My Brain Wants Something." To balance the wandering heart, he also offers more mundane observations in songs like the self-explanatory "Christians Drive Like Shit" and "My Friend Dan," a straight celebration of one of his buddies. There's a glorious shimmer that runs through Coleman's sometimes ramshackle music, a graceful melding of enthusiastic melodies and a rushed instrumental attack that frames off-beat lyrics sung by someone who can find moments of excitement in some pretty unlikely situations. Instead of living in the gutter and looking at the stars, he's living in the gutter and looking at the crazy people stumbling down the street. And loving it!