I really wanted to follow Chris Mills and the Distant Stars to St Paul tonight, but I was leaving for Hawaii on Tuesday and I figured I should work a few days before being gone for a week. But even more than that, I didn’t want to miss Dietrich Gosser’s record release show for the stellar Oh! To Begin. The tracks were released on Bandcamp last September, but it took a little longer to get the LP pressed. It’s worth the wait, it’s a quality pressing on heavyweight vinyl, and the trippy Norman Rockwell-esque cover photo looks great on 11x11 cardboard. The photo, taken by Audre Rae, shows a little boy standing on the Terrace watching a band (which is actually Dietrich & company) with an egg carton tied to his back. It’s really weird and totally adorable, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
There was talk of how different these songs were from his previous work, but it was everything I expected it to be. Gosser makes awesome records, and that’s what I expected. They play great live too, a delicate balance of Dan Kuemmel’s inventive percussion, Gosser’s fantastic voice and guitar work, and Jeremiah Nelson who adds atmospheric guitar (and produced the record). As fitting a release show, there were many tracks from the new record as well as old favorites. Perhaps the standout of these was “Noah’s Ark,” one of my favorite tracks from near perfect record What the Buzzsaw Sings. “Well that moonshine always got him singing songs about Noah’s Ark, one drunk sailor and an olive branch, one empty aching heart,” may be the best line Gosser’s ever written. It was a great set, I’m glad that I braved a truly crappy Sunday evening to be there.
Of course there was the added bonus of two great openers. I hadn’t seen Jeremiah Nelson play since he had moved back to Madison this summer, and it was great to hear some of my old favorites, especially the smartly catchy “Drugs to Make You Sober.” Backed by Luke Bassuener on drums and Blueheels drummer Adam Cargin on bass, the songs rocked a little more than the solo versions. The drum and guitar “experimental folk” duo Old Earth reminded me of someone, though I can’t put my finger on it. I definitely liked them, and made a mental note to see the Milwaukee band next time they were in town.