Because we here in the media are so obsessed with nihilistic youth, any grubby yobbo who articulates a desire to off himself can get himself hailed as the spokesperson for his generation. But since 1985, Scrawl’s Marcy Mays has chronicled the painful path from the hazy days of college through postcollegiate confusion to the acceptance of adulthood with more empathy, elegance, and honesty than all other comers. On the new Travel On (Elektra) several songs record the way in which an old life can fall away without anything necessarily coming along to replace it. “Good Under Pressure” watches the slow decline of a friend who can no longer stand day-to-day stress, while “The Garden Path” spits venom at a slumming rich girl whom the narrator once revered. When Mays concludes the song with “That was the day that she was through with punk rock,” you realize the narrator is one of those people who have nothing besides punk rock, and it hurts. Lines like “It might look like my wheels are spinning / I swear they’re spinning for a reason” (from “I’m Not Stuck”) are what lift Mays well out of the slacker/Generation X/whatever fray: she may not have the answers, but she’s not obliterating herself while trying to find them. Friday, 7 PM, Reckless Records, 3157 N. Broadway, 404-5080 (acoustic); also 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Pat Blashill.