Having retreated from music into the life of a young adult novelist, Selzer crawled out of his semi-retirement for a few rare live appearances in Spring 2007. The result is the best-sounding album he''s ever produced, featuring an amalgam of his backing bands from "Suburban Post Modernist" and "Clark Street Carols," roaring through a set of songs both old and new. The older songs have never sounded better, and one new song in particular, "Ebenezer Walked," is downright chilling. The slowed-down, piano-and-violin laden version of "New York Rain" is revelatory, the trumpet on "Friday Avenue" sounds as though it should have always been there, and the violin (not to mention Vixy Dockrey''s gorgeous backing vocals) renders all previous versions of "Lullaby in 12 Nursery Rhymes" and "Polly Vaughn Dreams of England" obsolete. And just try not to sing along on the rave-up version of "Death of Me Yet!"
The album - which blends recordings from two nights into one seamless concert - was seen as a supplement to Selzer''s literary career - all of his books so far take place in or around the fictional Cornersville Trace, and this concert handily lumps the songs that take place there into one collection. The "punk rock tango girl" will appear in "Pirates of the Retail Wasteland," to be published by Random House in April, 2008, and there''s talk of a graphic novel based on "Friday Avenue" and "Pushing Cheerleaders Down the Stairs" somewhere along the line.
It may have been a mercenary excuse to come out of retirement, but the results speak for themselves.
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