Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Sept. 8, 2006
Bedroom Demos Vol. 1: Zero Demand
Austin has its share of quirky in all art forms, but when it comes to folksingers, nobody keeps the town weirder than Southpaw Jones. Comparisons to They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Richman, and perhaps Daniel Johnston are apt, yet only Jones writes of pop culture, politics, and that thing called love in a manner that's painfully clever, clear, and truly laugh-out-loud funny. Equally remarkable is the fact that he's solely responsible for every note played and all the vocals on Bedroom Demos. While that means a reliance on clunky rhythm machines and the occasional overly naive keyboard track, the chorus of Southpaw's on "Seersucker Lullaby" and the doo-wop backing on "Man at Home" ranks several wows. By covering topics that encompass self-improvement, X-ray vision, his grandma's liberal politics, and the memoirs of a sniper's assistant, the bespectacled lefthander might be a bit overwhelming for those who like their local singer-songwriters in anguish and/or rainbows mode. Bedroom Demos is only Jones' third album, although he claims to write more than 100 songs a year. Nevertheless, his talent for bold honesty, quick-witted wordplay, and innocent yet ear-catching melodies has grown into a monster that can no longer be ignored.