Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Final Odd Quarter

You may remember me blogging about a series of 7" records by Buck 65 back in 2011. To celebrate his 20 or so years as a recording artist, he released them as a lead up to his final 20 Odd Years full-length album. Each EP contained some songs from the upcoming album, and also an exclusive song or two. You may also remember that there was originally meant to be four of those vinyl EPs, but due to pressing plant issues and whatever else, we only got three.

...Until 2014, when surprise - 20 Odd Years Vol. 4: Ostranenie has suddenly (and quietly) appeared on his online store along with the others. It actually came out!  Wow.  And it's even got the 2011 copyright printed on the label.

So, one happy fact I can report with this long-awaited final entry is that there are no songs duplicated from the 20 Odd Years LP.  So unlike the other three in the series, all four songs on this 7" are unique to this release. So let's finish up a piece I started in 2011 by looking at the this final EP, song by song.

Volume 4 - Ostranenie:
1) Days Go By (w/ Jenn Grant) - This entry starts out like the others, in that it's heavy on the collaborations, Jenn Grant, who was also featured on all three of the previous Odd Years EPs, starts things off on her own... to the point where you'll be starting to wonder if Buck is actually going to show up at all. He does, of course; but it does feel more like Buck dropping a guest verse on a Jenn Grant song than the other way around. Presumably he made the music, but the vocals are 75% her, with two quick (but good) verses from Buck. It's a slow, folksy number, which is well made if you like that sort of thing. But hip-hop heads like us will probably not find the experience worth the re-listen just for a pair of brief Buck verses.

2) Dolores (w/ Marnie Herald) - Collabo #2 feels a little more hop-hop. I'm not in love with the percussion, but the rest of the instrumental is really strong. Buck and Marnie (whoever that is) sound really good on it, and the balance between the two feels more 50/50, so fans won't feel like they're getting short changed on their Buck 65. Heads would still probably prefer a Marnie-free song instead of this, but unlike "Days Go By," I wouldn't suggest just skipping past it.

3) Joey Bats - Flip it to side 2 and the collaborations are done with; these last two cuts are solo songs. This particular one is a tribute to Jose Bautista, a baseball player for the Toronto Bluejays. Given the subject matter, it comes off as a more casual entry into Buck's oeuvre, the sort of odd and or/end that's appropriate for an obscure, vinyl EP like this. It's got an electro/ rock kind of instrumental with some really high energy that Buck matches in his vocal performance. It winds up being compelling enough to make you care about baseball, at least for the length of the track.

4) Legendary - This is probably the best song on here. It's back on that Talkin' Honky Blues tip and just feels the most like a proper, full Buck 65 song as opposed to the quick novelty a lot of the 20 Odd songs have exhibited. I'm not in love with the hook, but if you roll with the vibe he's setting up, it works. And otherwise it's both the most interesting and fulfilling of the lot. I'd put this one in regular rotation.

So overall, you're not going to find any greatest hits on here, but it's a nice little EP for the serious Buck 65 who's always hungry for new material. "Legendary" is especially worth your time. So collectors should definitely be happy to finally complete the set (I still can't get over the fact that it actually exists now). And even more causal fans might want to just throw this into their cart as a nicely affordable bonus alongside Buck's newest album, Neverlove, which just dropped this week.

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