Clem Snide

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

Clem Snide

You Were a Diamond (SpinArt) Out of print, back in vogue -- good reasons for a reissue. A better one is because folks missed it the first time. How were you supposed to notice the tender, quiet revolution going on when Clem Snide, a former Boston hard rock band, put out You Were a Diamond on the indie obscure Tractor Beam label in 1998? Singer-songwriter/guitarist Eef Barzelay's songs were too subtle, the lyrics too penetrating, the arrangements too steeped in strings for anyone to see this coming. Cello and violin form a veritable net of melody holding songs like "Your Night to Shine" and "I Can't Stay Here Tonight" aloft, a tiny orchestra providing flourishing accompaniment on "Better" and "Uglier Than You." Clem Snide covers Hank Williams and pays tribute to Nick Drake and Daniel Johnston with equal reverence and aplomb, and the rest of the album reflects the influences of that strange and compelling trinity with finger-tapping originality. Bonus tracks "Accident" and "Estranged Half Brother" are both strong enough tunes to make this reissue improve on the original a bit. This is a good one -- a really good one. Don't miss it again. (La Zona Rosa, Saturday, March 15, 11pm)

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