- Artist: Dan Mariska & The Boys Choir
- Album: Bummer Songs (2013)
- Purchased at: Live show at Rendezvous (St. Joseph, MO) for $15
Dan Mariska and his band passed through St. Joe last year, hitting The Rendezvous with touring partners See Through Dresses from Omaha. Dsoedean provided local support for the weekday show that was a rare treat. Two true touring bands that were carrying vinyl with them turned out to be something not worth missing.
Mariska’s vinyl was particularly intriguing. Having nice cover art is one thing but this 12-inch record had a screen-printed jacket on both sides. On a flat pink sleeve the cover image and the back (including the songs) were printed in red and white ink with some nice use of half tones for the shading as well. This easily makes it one of the most distinct record sleeves you’ll see. It is also hand numbered 155/300 letting you know just how exclusive it is. The record itself was on pink vinyl to match the record sleeve of course as well. Also included was a lyric book with all the liner notes completing a well put together album package.
It’s easy for a vinyl geek to get wrapped up in all this as I did but luckily the album is pretty solid as well. It’s pure power-pop with clean humming guitars and hook-laden songs. Big Star and Nada Surf are obvious influences that can be heard all over the album. The bouncy “Get Down with the Frown” is a clear highlight along with the driving 70s-style grove on “Forward to Mess.” The sprawling “Real Life” focuses on lyrics and reaps of regret but the album is called “Bummer Songs” after all. What more would you expect? The album really isn’t a bummer though. The upbeat mix of songs seems to be a pretty solid cure for the blues in all reality.