Ten songs, 35 minutes. Fuzzy guitars, eight-track production and everyman vocals. John “J” Hubner, perhaps best known for both his writing as a music critic and the many records made by his other band, Goodbyewave, spends his days working, his evenings daddy-ing and his nights making things out in Warsaw, Indiana. Loads of things. He maybe sleeps, too, but I’m not convinced (peruse his blog, www.jhubner73.com, for proof). When recording under the Goodbyewave moniker, he makes big, immaculately detailed and produced pop tracks that fans of Kevin Hambrick, The Beatles, ELO, Wilco and Vandolah should love. Possibly dearly. When wearing his sunnydaymassacre Chucks, Hubner keeps it loose, recording lo-fi rock and pop tracks that are often driven by the primal, ageless drive that any lasting rock n’ roll fan has somewhere in his system. There’s piano and bass and drums and other things, but, mostly, there’s J and his electric guitar. And probably some beers. And, ya know, obviously, a record button.His latest sunnydaymassacre effort, Yesterday Dreamers, couldn’t be a better follow up to his last lo-fi effort, the great Possible Pinch Points. The overall aesthetic here might be a bit more guttural and, well, rockin’; but, for the most part, all the elements are here, and they keep getting better. Hubner’s writing becomes more interesting by the song, his own voice coming out of the cracks more and more with each release.
And while I’m no expert on the subject of composition or production, I feel safe saying that Yesterday Dreamers shows improvements in those areas, too. In a recent article written about Hubner, he explained how he had trouble finding like-minded musicians in Warsaw through the 90s. “I didn’t know anyone that played bass, so I bought a bass and played it myself. I didn’t know anyone who played drums, so I bought a drum set and played it myself. I didn’t know any singers, so I begrudgingly sang my own songs.”
What makes Hubner, and Yesterday Dreamers, most interesting is that J is a fan first. I’ve known more songwriters than I could ever keep track of, and one of the main common personality defects among the dopes is that very often they seem to have lost their interest in being a fan. They like making stuff and standing on stages. And they like listening to what they listened to before they started “taking their art seriously.” But new stuff? Bands that don’t sound familiar? No thanks. That’s not Hubner, and his progress, and the diversity of his songwriting, is the better for it. Take this great new Dreamers track called “Sunday Lies,” for example. Five years ago, when I first heard Goodbyewave, I never could’ve imagined Hubner making such a song. I don’t know if he was listening to The Kinks back in those days, but he certainly is now, and I like that.
Head over to sunnydaymassacre.bandcamp.com now and download the album at no cost. Or give a little – totally up to you. You can also order a retro hard copy, handcrafted CD edition of the album if you choose to do so. Me? I think Yesterday Dreamers belongs on 12-inch vinyl. Or maybe a double 10-inch that, for the hell of it, plays at 45 RPM. Clear vinyl, gatefold. Maybe a little picture of me in the liner notes. Just in the background somewhere.
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