Like Saddle Creek stablemate and fellow Robert Smith emulator Conor Oberst, the Good Life front man Tim Kasher is a literary songwriter. But where Oberst unspools endless tangles of poetic verbiage, Kasher is an economical writer of short fiction, curt and blunt. He’s also just as fatalistic and self-consciously seedy as you’d expect of a guy who name-drops Fante and Bukowski (in the same verse, no less); his new record starts, “The first time that I met her I was throwing up in the ladies’ room stall.” Album of the Year is Kasher’s fourth full-length dissection of a doomed relationship (counting the Good Life’s other full-length and two more with his other band, Cursive), and he hasn’t developed many fresh insights. But he has a gift for placing his self-pitying, self-justifying postcollegiate bohos in a recognizable world, full of rumors, recriminations, and unwanted postbreakup encounters that ring true to life. And while musically a lot of this is basic acoustic singer-songwriter stuff with rock backup, there are occasional bravura touches, like the trumpet on “You’re No Fool,” which shifts midsong from Chet Baker through a tenement window to New Orleans funeral three blocks away. The Good Life’s recent EP, Lovers Need Lawyers, is more consistent musically and less claustrophobic thematically–not only does Kasher complain about something besides unhappy love (he slags greedy club owners on “Entertainer”) but “Always a Bridesmaid” has what sounds pretty close to a happy ending. Low Skies and McCarthy Trenching open. $10. Saturday, July 17, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bryce Bridges.