Marvin & the Content Providers
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The former music critic (Puncture) and ex-leader of Bay Area band X-tal, Marvin is a pleasure for those who decry that lyrics are a lost art. On his LPs (see also 2001s Slowly I Turned), Marvin favors light folk-rock with elements of the New Zealand Flying Nun style, only with a chest full of Americana elements, lots of violins, accordion, background horns, tambouras, theremin, wooden flute, slide whistle, and steel drums---even musical saws, and whatever a dumbek, a pandiero, and gongokqui bells are! But its Marvins strummy guitar and near-spoken-word writing thats the focal point, delivered tunefully like 60s Byrds or Fairport Convention, telling whole tales in song. The best is Primate House, with violins jawing against his catchy book-length words, describing the less than desirable behavior by anthropoid ape-like humans in one loony residence. Its the sort of LP where you put it on and hang on every word, wanting to find out what happens next. And good man that he is, Marvin records two New York covers, the dubious Yoko Ono (1973s Kite Song), and the unfairly forgotten Mink Deville (1980s Slow Drain) in sympathy with us for 9/11. Thanks, guy! Now check out his album. Its even better if you listen to it around a campfire.
- Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover, 2003
"J Neo Marvin and The Content Providers/What is Truth? (Ear Candle Recordings 2003) Marvin seems to be a journalist who writes for The Village Voice as well as The San Francisco Bay Guardian amongst others, but the thing that makes him hip for me is that he once interviewed Northern English legend Mark E Smith. 'What Is Truth?' is a fairly mellow mix of anti-folk and folk rock and covers the usual subjects such as capitalism, what old punks do when they calm down and why Republicans should never be allowed in Government. All subjects dear to my heart, well put and even better sung and played. Very interesting- has a whiff of old style radical Californian politics."
- AMERICANA U.K., 2003
"J Neo Marvin sings with a quirky tremor (think the Waterboys), and while his voice requires meat, his lyrics fulfill all expectations. Discover cool political rhetoric and find out why "I feel like I need to take a shower every time somebody speaks" is only the tip of the iceberg."
Sonia Pereira, Punk Planet, 2003
"I've seen these guys live, and they're pretty good. They have a very unconventional band and sound, with multiple keyboards, hand drums, violins, and the traditional bass and guitar section. The songs are creative and a lot of attention has obviously been paid on lyrical craftsmanship. Most of the songs are very intelligent and cover a range of punk-feeling topics, from dissatisfaction with the current socio-political realities, analysis of failed friendships, to angst and bitterness with consumerism and the 'me, me, me' culture. It's not all down, though, and you may find an upbeat love song hidden in the mix. =) The music itself is often very pleasant, sometimes in stark contrast to the lyrics laid down on top of them. There's a very accoustic and folk-y sound to it. All in all, a great album and an even better live band."
- Aaron Mckee, Amazon.com customer review
"The tender but twisted feel of the Velvet Underground and Big Star with the punk-folk vibe of the Mekons."
Pat Thomas, Devil In The Woods, 2001
A roughly strummed mixture of dark, intimate pop and sly social commentary, as good as anything from X-tal.
John Chandler, Portland Mercury, April 2001
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