"It was clear to me and anyone around me [as a youth] that I was going to either wind up in jail or be some kind of entertainer/performer," says Sean Scolnick, a.k.a. Langhorne Slim.
Fortunately, Scolnick's mom fixed him up an old guitar instead of a lock-picking kit, affording us the chance to hear his fine, shambling folk-rock antics. Scolnick emanates an impish charm and casual insouciance reminiscent of Beck, while his rootsy pop's innocent air also recalls Ben Kweller.
Scolnick (barely) graduated from the music conservatory at Purchase College in New York. Located just outside New York City, he'd head in for open mic shows. Eventually Jason Trachtenburg befriended Scolnick, taking him on tour as the opener for his Family Slideshow Players. Touring expanded Scolnick's horizons, and his professors apparently appreciated the internship, because they passed him despite his being absent most of his senior year.
In five years Scolnick has released two EPs as Langhorne Slim, and is now celebrating the release of his second album, which follows 2006's Engine EP for V2 Records, the label for whom his current full-length was recorded. The label went under before releasing it, so Scolnick took the finished album to Kemado, who released Langhorne Slim in April.
The baker's dozen tracks feature Scolnick backed by his band, the War Eagles, and range from the ramshackle jangle-pop opener, "Spinning Compass," to the bluegrass-flavored "Restless" and lively rockabilly-garage samba, "The Honeymoon." Two tracks particularly stand out: "Rebel Side of Heaven" and "Diamonds and Gold."
The former is a rollicking, organ-driven, Band-ish number, which suggests that "although we've sinned all of our lives, we ain't going to hell." It was inspired by a drunken evening in Austin, when a friend of Scolnick's date broke down after leaving the bar, crying that he was going to hell. Her words of consolation that night stuck with Scolnick: "That was so sweet and poetic at a time when her good friend was a mess," he says. "I thought it was worthy of a song."
The show-stopper, however, is the bluesy, cabaret-tinged ode "Diamonds and Gold," which cautions that money won't forestall age, suggests "take some chances, allow yourself to get lost" and advises "you gotta learn to get a little happy along the way."
"I'm not preaching to anybody, I'm talking to myself," Scolnick says. "That's really for me to figure out to be in the moment a little bit more, and appreciate what's going on when it's going on."
Slim's gift is a guilessness that invites you to concur, and to hop on his amiably ambling, folksy bandwagon.
well fuck you anon! Go and Catch fire!
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