Saturday, May 24, 2008


Besides being an important day of recognition of labor struggles, a holiday based in pagan traditions and the international distress call, Mayday is a Nebraskan band. If you haven't heard of them, and didn't guess from their being from Nebraska, Mayday is indeed belongs Omaha's Saddle Creek. I won't lie, I had an affection for Saddle Creek that is almost unnerving in retrospect. However, I shan't deny some of the music from this ever-expanding label is tiptop. Ted Stevens, also of Cursive and of the now defunct Lullaby For The Working Class, heads up Mayday. Having more in common with the earlier Lullaby For The Working Class than the other material he's worked on, including his contributions to several Bright Eyes releases. Thusly, its alternative country mixed with the rock he also partakes in. The brooding lyrics and soberness of much of the songs has lead to it being branded as sadcore, which is really whatever you make of it. Personally, I find a sense of liveliness and realism to much of it. Three albums have been released by the band so far. Old Blood being the first, and in my opinion the weakest but fairly well made, especially the tracks "Captain" and "Confession" which has vocals by Saddle Creeks' most famed son, Conor Oberst. If listeners stuck it through to the second attempt, I Know Your Troubles Been Long, they get a well-composed album. It has an appropriate unvarnished sounding recording and catchy songs that are terrificly sung. The latest LP, Bushido Karaoke, is again more polished, but has considerable songwriting and excellently executed instrumentation, probably the best release Stevens has managed with Mayday. The bittersweet ballad "Rock & Roll Can't Save Your Life" is charmingly done. "Booze & Pills" has got country swagger to spare. Although not one of my favorite tracks, "Old World New World" is a cover of Australian new wavers INXS. I'd suggest this as a good intro into a brand alternative country, within which there are numerous great artists.

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