Drew is a day-dreamer and late-sleeper. He is a doodler and entrepreneur. He also makes music, lots of music: cigarette-butts-in-Chinese-food, insomniac, vodka-breathed, bedroom-pop music. Late at night, he draws graffiti of dead TV's. He is scrappy and young, and moved to NYC from Philadelphia. He currently resides on the Lower East Side where he plays shows regularly and survives on a diet of tuna and spaghetti.
I've been meaning to write about this record for some time, but lately I've had trouble finding the right words to talk about things that I really like. I want to write about Dream, Dream, Fail, Repeat in such a way that you're going to listen to the mp3 below, and then need to hear more and head to Drew's myspace, and then, safe in the knowledge that I have not led you astray, maybe even buy the CD. Not because I have any stake in it. Just because it's good and when I think about all the good music that goes largely unheard in our modern-day Tower of Babel, it just breaks my heart.
Drew & The Medicinal Pen, as I've said before, is really a one-man operation. Which I mention because it makes the recording all the more impressive. There's a passage in Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet (which is great, duh) in which a character enters a studio and sends all the studio musicians home so that he can record the entire song in his head by himself. I'm attracted to over-the-top flowery prose, and that passage sticks in my mind as a wonderful description of just how hard it is to sit down and do what Drew has admirably done. But I digress.
While the arrangements on this EP are fun (There's a thank you in the liner notes to Sam Ash for unknowingly allowing Drew to buy a $400 xylophone, record it, and return it the next day), Drew doesn't let them get in the way of his true strength: his songwriting. All the hand clap beats and whistle choruses are well and good, but they're purely ornamental. I'm not sure I'm making my point as well as I could be, but the crux of it is that even though this record with all its instrumentation is a lot of fun to listen to, when Drew gets up on stage alone with his acoustic guitar, he doesn't lose that energy. Again I digress.
These songs are clever, earnest, well performed, and worthy of your time. I haven't stopped listening since I bought the EP from Drew at Goodbye Blue Monday two weeks ago.
He said I could give you a song here and I've been having a hell of a time deciding which one because they all have their strengths. But I've decided on "A City Was Born." That said, you need to go to his myspace right now and also listen to "Merry-Go-Round" while you wait for this one to download, because every time hear that song I think to myself at 2:43 that everyone I know needs to hear this.
Drew & The Medicinal Pen - A City Was Born (mp3, right click to download)
But there's still more. Drew's got a twitchy creative energy about him. I don't want to say something as cliché as "you can see it in his eyes," but you almost can. And you can definitely see it on his myspace page. There's not just music there, there are music videos. There are boastful shots of dead television graffiti. And drawings, cool drawings. I don't want to make this post any longer than it's already going to be, though. So here's what I'm going to do. Below is a cool stop-motion music video, a cool drawing, and one cool photo of some graffiti. There's lots more at his myspace. If this stuff seems cool to you, go there and see more of it.