Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
The ending of Quadrophenia was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news in June of 1996 that Material Issue's guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jim Ellison had been found dead at 31, slumped over a moped in the g... more »
The ending of Quadrophenia was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news in June of 1996 that Material Issue's guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jim Ellison had been found dead at 31, slumped over a moped in the garage of his suburban Chicago home. Apparently distraught over a recent breakup, Ellison was the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning in what was eventually ruled a suicide. But it's the movie image of Quadraphenia's Jimmy rather than that sad real-life picture of Jim that stays with me as I contemplate Material Issue's fourth (and by necessity, last) album. Telecommando Americano consists of 11 new tracks that Ellison started and bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko finished, as well as the six songs from the trio's vinyl-only 1987 debut, thus book-ending the band's career. With early roots in Chicago's mid-'80s '60s revival scene, Ellison was a mod. Everyone knows that Ellison dressed the part, and the influence of mod heroes such as the Who and the Small Faces is loud and clear on driving, upbeat pop songs such as "She's Going Through My Head," and "A Very Good Thing." But Ellison also had the strong work ethic, his self-confidence bordering on arrogance, and a love of a good time that characterized the '60s mods. This was an attitude that was very much out of step with the prevailing ethos of the grunge/alt-rock '90s. Though Material Issue scored a respectable hit with International Pop Overthrow, its 1991 Mercury Records debut, it was soon overshadowed by that year's biggest success story, Nirvana's Nevermind. In retrospect, Cobain and Ellison had a lot in common below their surface differences: Both men were incurable romantics who bought into idealized and perhaps unobtainable standards for love, and they may have paid the ultimate price for it. Still, there's a palpable joy that comes through in every note of Telecommando Americano, and I believe that singing and picking up the guitar were life-affirming acts for Ellison. When I listen to his last album or Nirvana's From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, I hear the sound of talented if troubled artists drowning out the voice of nihilism with a blast of feedback or a ringing power chord. But then I've always believed that Jimmy jumped off that scooter. --Jim Derogatis
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Fitting farewell for MI
David Trombley | Brooklyn Park, Minnesota United States | 07/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe this is the first review of the final album by the happy-pop kings Material Issue. For those who need a review, guitarist and lead singer of MI, Jim Ellison killed himself over 4 years ago, and to me it's still a loss because MI represented quick catchy pop-rock tunes, girl's name love songs and true romance in 3 minute bursts of music. And so in 1998, the 2 remaning members of MI re-worked and completed the songs that were to be the next album, and as a bonus to fans re-released the initial EP that sprung the band to indie-stardom. And so what you get with this disc is 11 tracks that is a new album and 7 tracks of remastered old tunes, quite a bargain. If you're wondering about the music that didn't change over 4 albums, quick catchy rock tunes about love and loss, and Jim Ellison's clear passionate voice echoing over his guitar work. This and the 3 other MI discs are recommended for the true rock and roll fan."
Damon Nomad | Texas | 02/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Material Issue's last album just serves to remind us of what could have been. They are incredible on the pounding "2 Steps," and the ballad "Carousel" is just plain beautiful. In fact, "Carousel" should've been a huge pop hit, but with these guys' obscurity, you know it never could've happened.The old stuff tacked on at the end is killer, especially "She's Goin thru my head," which beats the later version on Freak City Soundtrack.If you have the other albums, don't miss out on this one, because it has some of Jim Ellison's best moments."