MP3 44 - Free Land Wall
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11 MP3 Songs
POP: Power Pop, ROCK: Progressive Rock
44 was brainchild of the Pat Gibbons and Dan Hylton musical partnership that began as an acoustic duo in the college town of Ames, IA (performing at that time under the name "Time Did Yank Us"). Gibbons and Hylton moved to Minneapolis after graduation from Iowa State in 1993, seeking to grow their fan base and evolve their sound as the full-fledged power-pop/alternative rock outfit, 44.
The early-to-mid 90s saw Gibbons and Hylton pushing performance and stylistic boundaries and exploring a number of directions for their creative flights of fancy, all the while expanding a base of "emotionally-charged fans" (Spindrift, 1999). In 1996, they landed upon their final and most successful lineup, when the husband and wife team of guitarist Aaron Johnson and percussionist Krista Johnson joined up. Gibbons and Hylton traded authorship of songs (though they dutifully listed all works under the "Gibbons/Hylton" credit). Band members freely changed up who was delivering the lead vocals, and the instruments ranging from guitars to trombone to marimba seemed to be similarly up for grabs, leading very much to an "expect the unexpected," freewheeling vibe for both performances and studio recordings.
At the height of their artistic achievement and popularity in the Twin Cities area, 44 recorded in the studio a set of popular live material that they felt gave some sense of the range of styles into which their music ventured, as well being sort of a shot in the arm for what they saw as a non-adventurous, depressingly introspective brand of music that had dominated the Minneapolis scene for a number of years. Free Land Wall was released in the Spring of 1999 to the delight of the 44 fan-faithful; however a path to the "next level" that had somewhat stagnated, as well as the grind of the multi-weekly practices took their toll on band members. 44 ultimately dissolved in the following year, with Gibbons and Hylton pursuing (of all things) an introspective adult-alternative all-studio project, Camden Garden; and all members pursuing various musical projects of their own.
Free Land Wall is a rollicking, fun alternative/power pop album with intelligent, often quirky lyrics; adventurous musical ideas; and spirited performances throughout. This album is a glimpse of what music can be when self-consciousness, corporatization, and homogenization are removed; and a group of fun, literate, creative individuals are left to let music take them where it may. In the words of Demorama's Y-von, "This group of merry pranksters have put out a product that is like reading magnetic poetry arranged on a refrigerator after a wild drunken party -- without the really kinky stuff that you have to hide in the morning from the kids. Creative and refreshing."
IN 2003, 44'S PAT GIBBONS AND DAN HYLTON RELEASED "CAMDEN GARDEN" UNDER THE NAME "PAT AND DAN." IT CAN BE FOUND HERE: https://www.tradebit.com
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