In a climate of artificial rhythm sections and autotune, the lost sound of an older generation of songwriting, particularly that of Southern blues, seems something longed after by many, yet striven for by few. CHILLEMI, the moniker under which Brian Chillemi (Junk Boys) strums his guitar and plays his harmonica, acts almost as a physical brush to the dust of a forgotten genre, breathing into it new life, and leaving his own mark on the roots that shaped him. I Went To Town is a four-song introduction, or perhaps a re-introduction, to a Southern mysticism put down and left in the pages of literature ages ago and since glazed over and pondered by academicians and no one else.
“Brass Bed” starts the time-trip off in a humid sluggishness, smoky acoustic guitar alternating its timbre, setting a shaky ground for the sparse echo of electric soloing and the shrill snarl of harmonica. CHILLEMI’s vocals seem affected as though to have been to history and back. The retro tone of keys on “Night To Day” follows nicely, bringing a more organic sadness to the table, a walk with your head down in a light drizzle. It’s pretty and simple and nasty, carrying over onto “Debbie,” which utilizes the mouth harp in a more caressing way. The EP closes with something of a cover of Lee Hazelwood’s song, “Must Have Been,” the lyrics revamped and personalized by CHILLEMI, and highlighting the light chug of acoustic guitar, bluesy as it gets. It’s a song for a front porch, if you’re lucky enough to have one.
I Went To Town is due for cassette release on Time Castle Recordings. The release party is August 9th at Idio Gallery in Bushwick.