[Rating: 5 stars]
These days, Beck might live in a mansion, but he’s no stranger to the shack. In 1993, he and a few musicians, including Calvin Johnson of K Records, recorded this lo-fi masterpiece on out-of-tune guitars and rusty microphones, deep in the woods drunk on 99 cent beers. Or at least, that’s the vibe you get when listening to it. At the time, the Silver Lake transplant was deep into rotgut folk music (“Mighty Good Leader” “Hollow Log”) and surrealist hobo poetry (“Sleeping Bag,” “Cyanide Breathmint,” “I Get Lonesome”). There’s also stray bits of punk rock experimentation (“Ziplock Bag,” “Outcome”) interspersed among all the largely acoustic noodlings. Weirdness is the chief weapon here, but genuine emotion emanates throughout. Get it for, if nothing else, the host of B-sides that serve as a museum to the early mind of Beck during a very fertile period.