Jeff Moody

Dear Beverly…

New album "Beverly" from corner tavern Chicago rockers The Blackout Dates send Jeff Moody on a nostalgia trip to the college radio days.

By - Aug 4th, 2012 04:00 am

Dear Beverly,

I know. It’s been years (and years) since I’ve written and still longer since we’ve spoken, but something made me think of you recently. Think back to when we were in college and how we plotted our takeover of the school radio station and actually did it, changing it, at least for awhile, for the benefit of the students and the surrounding community. Do you remember what the music sounded like back then, and how exciting it was to see our playlists reported in College Music Journal for the first time? I don’t know if you still have yer ears on everything out there like you used to, but there’s a new elpee you’ve got to hear. Its title even bears yer name.

Beverly is by a band from Chicago named Blackout Dates, and to cut right to the chase, it’s excellent, and it’s up there with the very best of everything I’ve heard this year. You probably think I’m nuts, but I’m still hunting down new stuff to listen to every week and writing about it. I never gave it up, and this record is yet another reason why I’m so happy I didn’t.

Remember how the best thing about the music we used to program for the station was that all of it was really difficult to describe until Homestead Records sent us that compilation named “Human Music” and we were both like “THAT’S what it all sounds like, THAT’S what sets this stuff we love apart from the pablum that has washed over us for years”? This is that.

It’s Human Music, Bev, I’m telling you, this Blackout Dates elpee is as human as it gets—transcendentally so. In the span of 13 tracks, Blackout Dates match the stylistic variety of that Homestead comp, playing gutbucket corner tavern rock, awash in feedback and thunderous drums, then downshifting into occasional forays into honest-to-Christ country music that’s more country music than yer Mom’s country music. There’s an insistent banjo-fueled porch-stomper like “Lil’ Tiny,” a track that masks its existential resignation in buoyant melodies. “False Steps, False Starts” should just be handed out as a free MP3 to every thirteen year old kid on earth. It’s a gentle beauty, a heart tenderizer, and a warm blanket made of sounds.

I could go on and on, but I know yer probably busy, so one last thing about Blackout Dates…I remember how much you loved Big Dipper back when we were younger. Bev, you’ve gotta hear this record. Remember how good “Heavens” made us feel? You’ll feel that good again with one listen to Beverly, I promise.

Stay Excellent,


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