The Feebs | I'm Afraid of Life

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I'm Afraid of Life

by The Feebs

Rock and/or Roll. Think Costello, Replacements, 70's Beach Boys, and Guided by Voices.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Rock is Dumb
2:50 $0.99
2. No Air Man
2:36 $0.99
3. I Am Sorry for Everything
3:14 $0.99
4. Drinking Days
4:47 $0.99
5. Soot Faced White Man
5:12 $0.99
6. Escape
3:40 $0.99
7. Chorus 8
2:21 $0.99
8. Guitarmy
3:56 $0.99
9. 24 Blinks and 7 Cleared Throats
2:26 $0.99
10. Corner of My Eye
3:50 $0.99
11. Dull & Mean & Loud & Dumb
2:55 $0.99
12. The Drug
5:07 $0.99
13. The Lawn I Left Behind
3:10 $0.99
14. Tomorrow is Another Day to Fuck Up Another Way
4:18 $0.99
15. Jennifer Lynn
5:20 $0.99
16. God Awful Truth
3:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I'M AFRAID OF LIFE by The Feebs is an anthology, of sorts, of songs culled from his other albums, none of which have seen the light of day, although some have experienced the dank basements of the few acquaintances who have heard them. None of whom were Greil Marcus, Richard Meltzer or David Fricke.

But who are The Feebs anyway -- and how was he made?

Founding member of the seminal 80s New York basement band The Martyrs, Jim O'Shaughnessy began recording as The Feebs in 1994 while living in North Carolina. A return to NY was followed by a none-too-soon relocation to Portland, Oregon where he records in his basement, dubbed Little Ease Studios. An obsession with the sounds of his favorite music (Costello, Westerberg, Beach Boys) inspires his own work. A real "rock snob," as Vanity Fair would say. He plays all the instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, lap steel, drums, an odd asortment of percussion, penny whistle, keymonica, etc., etc.) and records it all on a digital 8-track, which he tries as hard as possible to make sound like his old busted 4-track. Above the swell of the sonics, rich and sometimes ragged harmonies ride the minutes.

Jim began his musical career in the St. Pius X Grade School band as lead clarinetist until someone else began playing clarinet, which he then abandoned for the drums. Jim and his brother began rockin' out with a kid up the block in a band called Universe. The neighbor, a flawless, thunderous metronome, was a human beatbox long before the influence of rap pounded the suburbs. Jim played bass and the Moog Rogue synthesizer the drummer's father owned. Noisy. Loud. Cacaphonous. But not without a shadow of melody somewhere beneath the flood of untamed rock. The screams of the neighbor's mother from upstairs were hardly discernible above the clang and the clatter of these newborn musicians. Years later, reflections would consider the trio as contemporaries of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., bands completely unknown to these three early-to-mid-teen racket-makers. Songs about their 7th Grade teacher and the school janitor would solidify Universe's legend in their minds and the minds of anyone stuck in the mire of their ponderous bullshit.

The music took a recognizable form when Jim and his brother recruited two friends for a new band called, at first, many embarassing names (the worst of which was The Peace Punks -- Jim's disdain for the name is best illustrated by the hole he made in the closet door by whipping a drum stick at his brother's head). "The Martyrs" was finally settled on. The Martyrs were an accidentally brilliant band who never performed beyond their limited abilities. Yet somehow, they sounded good. Especially in the basement, which they NEVER LEFT (except for two occasions when they played at a graduation party for the sister of one of the members, and another horrific incident when the Martyrs attempted an Open Mic night. Admonishments from the crowd such as "Pick it up!" sealed their fate as an in-home project).

4 + 1 = FEEBS!
The cassette 4-track. Purchased near the end of the Martyrs' heyday. Jim's wisest investment. Soon he would hole himself up in his room and record on his own. He distances himself from his earliest multi-track work. But after his move to Raleigh, North Carolina, he honed his songwriting skills and mastered his instrumental abilities, and began his career as The Feebs. His 4 analog cassette releases, 3 digital CD EPs, and 4 digital CD-R LPs including I'm Afraid of Life, an anthology of sorts, have now entered the rock and roll pantheon of the 8 to 9 people who have heard him thus far. Says Jim Santo of Demo Universe, "[Jim] cranks up the guitar at times but never loses the sweetness and melancholy at the heart of all Feebs releases."

The Feebs now writes and records in Portland, Oregon. He is also a member of 90s supergroup Pizazz; Heirs to the McQueen Fortune; and The Frustrations, a band he performs in with his wife. They run MushyApple Records from their home.



to write a review

Jim Garrett

So good, I have to make up a word for it....crumbtralescent!!
Based on condition 2 of Brian Kunath's review, I have purchased this CD.....well that and I heard that if you play it backwards, you can hear Ponce De Leon.........

Library Myth

The music is complete, the words are pure poetry, the vocals brilliant...together they create incredible feelings which can take the listener from a moonlit path of love and quickly change the mood to one of introspective possibilities. Thank God that other kid took up clarinet or we might be listening to The Feebs Polka! The Feebs always have and continue to inspire me...

Frank Witner - Max Rat Press

So brilliant I'm afraid of life without it!
The Feebs' I'm Afraid of Life has been in my CD player since the day I got it. The album rolls through many moods, punctuating at just the right moments. From the opening chords of "Rock is Dumb," the Feebs never disappoint. Each song has its own sound; different instruments, different mixes. (I hate albums whose songs only differ in the chords used.) It's rare to hear a band combine catchy tunes and memorable phrases (anthemic in tone at times) and wrap them in beautifully ragged (yet full and deep) production and performances. He has the kind of soul in his voice akin to other performers who transcend the often unavoidable packaging of a song. (I'm thinking of Vic Chesnutt and Greg Dulli -- two different kinds of singers, but you can hear their intentions in their voices; so too with the Feebs.) Check out "I am Sorry for Everything," "Guitarmy," "Soot-Faced White Man," and "Chorus #8" -- and every other song as well! Brilliant music -- I'm afraid of life without it!

Liz Belmont

"Mom, that was NASTY!"
I haven't heard it, I don't own it, but I love this CD, and I love this band.

Jim B

Nothing short of brilliant! I really enjoyed it. This is the newest edition to my "Desert Island Disc" list. Every song is unique and timeless. Can someone please post whether The Feebs will be touring in the NY area soon?

the listener

.. got a grip on a truth.
A terrific album... personal, varied, strongly based on traditional songwriting virtues but full of invention and fresh as can be. I've just done a quick scan through the tracks to refresh my memory and come up with something coherent to say, but mainly it just reminded me of how much I like every track... and I still smile when I hear Jim O'Shaughnessy try to sing "every note I try to sing". I especially like the way the music throughout triggers vague memories of all sorts of things down through the many years I've been listening to rock'n'roll. "24 Blinks" is an example that seems to is it some obscure Merseybeat thing? or an almost forgotten folk-pop group from the early 70s? or some New Zealand band from my Auckland days? or a song that GBV wish they'd recorded? But it's just simply a beautiful track which despite being clearly early 21st century, is in its own way timeless. I also like the restraint that makes much of this music so affecting; the simple guitar-and-voices arrangements of "The Lawn" and the next one, "Tomorrow Is Another Day", are perfect examples. Lovely stuff. Even the heavier "Guitarmy" doesn't make the mistake of breaking the flow and feel of the CD; a mis-step so many bands make when they want to show that they can rock-out and only end up with an instant 'skip' track. No such problems here. Ok, so there's no busting out to new musical frontiers either, but when you get a classic sound as naturally and as right as The Feebs, and the songs are there too, you've already got a grip on a truth that others can only strain for. And the amusingly downbeat graphics reflect the album's smart but unpretentious feel. (Four and a half stars).

Brian Kunath

The most honest and unique music in a decade
Get this CD on three conditions. 1) That you appreciate deeply felt, introspective lyrics that are at once elegaic and celebratory of life. 2) That you're tired of listening to derivative brat bands produce radio-friendly shit rock, and are looking for an artist who follows his own path. 3) That you enjoy beautiful music made with structure, restraint, feeling, honesty, love, empathy, apathy...Just get the CD already! Trust me. It's the best way to spend eight bucks outside of Bangkok.