Thursday, January 5, 2006

What Are You On?

Posted on Thu, Jan 5, 2006 at 4:00 AM

What Are You On?
Label: Merge
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: What Are You On?

Popular perception is that New Jersey's a chemical dump, but actually it's more a corporate theme park where Merck, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson practice chemical improvement for the masses. Add in the illegal contraband that slips through the ports and, well, the self-medicating legions never had it better. A Home Depot worker by day, Fred Cornog (aka East River Pipe) turns on the night in his suburban New Jersey bedroom with his Tascam 388 mini-studio. His music is shimmering and charming, melodious and hummable, recalling everything from glam to punk to the AM radio of his youth, except his lyrics mine a heart of darkness. The title track monitors the "Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax up ahead," while elsewhere Cornog clues you in that "Life is a landfill, baby." It's all pure catharsis for this once homeless addict. He walked away from the dissolute life, but he hasn't forgotten what it takes to survive it.

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