Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Music Review //
Kouns & Weaver
"The 1990 Cincinnati Reds"

https://kounsandweaver.bandcamp.com/album/the-1990-cincinnati-reds //


"The 1990 Cincinnati Reds" is the fifth release by Kouns & Weaver available on their Bandcamp.   At least three of those other releases are themed around the holidays, Christmas it would seem is a big hit with them.   Through a series of tweets (maybe retweets) I found out about this album and really Kouns & Weaver which immediately made me want to listen because who has ever created an entire album about baseball before.  If someone has done this, it has not been like this: based on a single season and team.   My all-time favorite team is of course the 1986 New York Mets and even though this is not them it's worth listening to because of the simple fact that it combines music with baseball: all of the cassettes I collected growing up finally merge with the baseball cards.

As someone who enjoys the physical aspects of music over the digital, it would be fun to see this release on cassette but it would also just be fun to have download codes attached to baseball cards.   This would work better if we were not all in shutdown mode still and there were actually live music events happening as there were last year, but having a baseball card that looks like the cover art of Kouns & Weaver or even just a download code pasted onto a 1990 Chris Sabo Topps card would be neat.   It makes sense to me why it wasn't done though because it's more of an in person thing to do than to have someone order a download code through Bandcamp to be mailed to them.   I would do it but I don't know if it would be worth it for how many others would as well.

Musically these songs have that feeling of keys with the drums and then the words are spoken.    It's not quite jazz and it's not quite The Beats and poetry but it feels like something new.   One song might sound like some other artist but overall each song seems to tell its own story and as a collection that is something which is without compare.    Haunted keys at the start of this album can easily turn into the sound of "Doogie Howser" by the end.   In many ways this also has that 1980's/1990's noir feel to it, the way you would wear some old detective tell his story like something out of an era when everything was black and white.   Mostly because of the spoken word but a little bit because of the music as well I can relate this with Steve Scott and sometimes one name is all you need.  

Each of these songs is titled after a character who played their role in the 1990 Cincinnati Reds winning the World Series- it's not just the players because Marge Schott and Mr. Red both have their own songs.   Some of these players are amongst my all-time favorites and that isn't to say other players don't make an appearance as Jose Canseco is name dropped at least twice (The Reds did defeat the A's in the WS)  "Chris Sabo" is really distorted and noisy while "Rob Dibble" is a jam, which are words I never thought I'd type.   "Barry Larkin" feels like a ballad and it can be less about baseball due to the lyrics, while a song like "Tom Browning" can seem to focus more on the music over the words.   "Norm Charlton" is quite the story and I really hope that "Marty Brennamen" is not based on a true story but I'm too scared to look it up.  

I love baseball and I love music.   They are two constants in my life since I was a kid.  I was buying cassettes and baseball cards in the 1980's and 1990's and I'm still doing it now-- still as excited about a Pete Alonso card now as I was about a Howard Johnson card back then (which is funny because they wear the same number)  Going back to 1990, this feels nostalgic but as this review will likely be posted after a review of a baseball game (and before the review of another baseball game) it also feels very much present.   It's not a given that if someone creates an album about baseball it will automatically be something I fall in love with but Kouns & Weaver have definitely done just that here.    Even if I didn't know the first thing about baseball, I would appreciate this album for its musical content and the stories which are told.   Being that I am a fan of baseball just makes this one that much more special to me.  


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