“I ain’t saying everything out there is great, there’s a lot of stuff I like and a lot of stuff I hate. Spend some time with the good, let the bad slip away; it’s all about how you focus your attention.”
These words of wisdom come from “Masterpiece”, a key track on the new album “Transistor Sister” from New Brunswick’s own Shotgun Jimmie. Released in March 2011, the album has been making waves across Canada and beyond, creating a worldwide fan base and stirring up impressive critical attention. “Masterpiece” sums up the art of creating music, the tricky balance act between creating “shit” and creating something great, and lucky for Shotgun Jimmie, “Transistor Sister” is great.
On first listen, it’s easy to mistake Shotgun Jimmie for an early ’90s happy-alternative band. With a raw and chunky sound that gives off a somewhat “who cares” attitude, his songs have an almost-grungy feel, not quite the Nirvana with whom the term is usually associated but a more poppy mix of Can-Rock superstar Sloan and bands like Modest Mouse and The Pixies, even early Weezer or Everclear. For fans of this genre, Shotgun Jimmie hits it right on. Short tracks and catchy tunes keep short attention spans happy, while Jimmie’s happy-go-lucky charm makes smiles unavoidable. It is a toe-tapping and clever good time, and while Jimmie’s voice can’t quite be compared to that of an angel or classic singer, it is his normal guy talent and attitude that make him so much fun to listen to. He sounds like someone’s buddy, just goofing around at a party, and that is the perfect way to be.
There are definite high points to this album. Starting off with an almost Beck-like track (“Late Last Year”) the album includes a variety of songs with different tones and stories, and it’s nearly impossible to choose a favourite track on this album because there are so many good ones. Standouts include the super-cute “Suzy”, “King of Kreuzberg” and “The Haze”, although there are a number of other fantastic songs to choose from as well.
Some people might not be so keen on the album’s shorter instrumental songs (“Confidence Lodge Stairwell Recording #1” – 0:17; “Piano” – 0:28; “Refrain” – 0:44; “Bar’s Open” – 0:19) but it is a happy reward that the longer tracks are fantastic.
Shotgun Jimmie’s next album can’t come soon enough. Whimsical, charming and experimental, “Transistor Sister” fills a void in the music world that other artists can’t quite reach, and it is his originality and nostalgic reflections that make him loveable. Listen to his album, and then listen to it again.
You can learn more about Shotgun Jimmie here, where you can also enjoy some tracks and do a bit of shopping. Check back for tour dates as well, because his is a show you don’t want to miss.