Love is the Best Con in Town CD
release: August 1, 2006
the 1995 dissolution of Hartford, CT’s mess-rock poster children
St. Johnny, who Sonic Youth signed to Geffen in 1992, bandleader
Bill Whitten, with only an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. copy and a notebook
full of rough edged hits to his name, found himself in New York.
Informed by New York Dolls, T-Rex, and Mott the Hoople instead of
his previously slack, droning St. Johnny work, Whitten introduced
Grand Mal later that year. Whitten has spent the last decade since
writing brilliant off-kilter rock’n’roll gems about
first round K.O.’s. bail-jumping ex-wives, disaster films,
mustachioed fascists and endless misadventures. Continuing work
with St. Johnny producer Dave Fridmann, including studio appearances
by friends like the Flaming Lips Stephen Drozd and Mercury Rev’s
Grasshopper, Grand Mal released a slew of albums on Number 6, Slash/London,
and Arena Rock before calling it quits after 2003’s critically
acclaimed Bad Timing. Whitten quietly returned to home recording,
and, out of nowhere, delivered his most realized, relaxed album
to date: Love Is The Best Con In Town.
Grand Mal record Dave Fridmann did not produce, Love is the Best
Con in Town was created in Whitten’s apartment over a seven-month
period. He explains, “It was all done in a casual yet unrelenting
way. My girlfriend had just moved out and I used that as an opportunity
to get some real work done. Shaggy-headed young men were coming
in and out of my apartment day after day, week after week. I think
my neighbors were deeply gratified when I finally decided to take
what I had up to Tarbox Studios and have Dave Fridmann master it.”
The list of Whitten’s collaborators on the record includeJoan
Wasser (AKA Joan
as Policewoman), current members of The
Silent League, Hopewell,
and the Johnsons, Antony and the Johnsons, and a cast
of many more.
with homegrown soul, the piano-based album is more stripped down
and less bombastic than previous Grand Mal efforts – think
of a collision of early Todd Rundgren, Holland-era Beach Boys and
of course the relaxed swagger of classic Grand Mal-style r’n’r.
Loaded with some of the best songs of Bill Whitten’s career.