PRINT September 1996


Two Dollar Guitar

Way back in the era BCD (Before Cobain’s Death), when alternarock had barely begun to rule the world, some people were already sick of all that . . . Zepness. So they went in another direction altogether and invented something called slo-core: bands like Low, Mazzy Star, and TWO DOLLAR GUITAR made music that had a lot more to do with early blues, bummed-out country, and Joy Division during their heroin days than “yo, my dick is sooo big” guitar theatrics.

Two Dollar Guitar, the Hoboken, New Jersey, band made up of former Half Japanese member Tim Foljahn, ex-Das Damen bassist Dave Motamed, and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, hew particularly close to the bones—Burned and Buried, their latest album, sounds a lot like what Hank Williams must have been hearing in the back of his head during that cold, cold, last limo ride. Which is not to say that the album is slow death. They get up way past 75 beats per minute on some cuts, there are a couple of beautiful duets with Lorette Velvette, even a song called “Happy Guitar,” complete with groovy Meat Puppets–style riffs. And now, in the Year 2 ACD, Two Dollar Guitar sounds more essential than ever: so spacious, so quiet. So slow.

Mark Van de Walle