In the last year Ben Barnett has been incredibly prolific. After a three year hiatus from record store shelves, the man behind Kind of Like Spitting returned with three new releases. Of all of these, Learn: The Songs of Phil Ochs
, Barnett's take on the music of the infamous protest songwriter, was by far the best. As this track from the post-Ochs The Thrill of the Hunt
attests, it was also a tipping point that pushed Barnett into Ochs' realm, exploring with even more clarity the intersections of the personal and the political. The track begins with a generalization that ends pointing to personal dissatisfaction: "The middle man what a miracle of common calculations/ Compressed and erratic/ Hung out to fade like ribbons/ And wall-to-wall maybes." Then Barnett weaves his own story of trashing his own soul and shrugging off the bad shit, before eventually returning to that middle man, singing, "Repressed and dramatic/ Fighting to find his fable through wall-to-wall static." And you just go, "Shit, that makes sense."
Redder Records: redderrecord.com