Jon Langford, Old Devils
Examining the life of the middle-aged indie-dude, mercilessly and often hilariously
It's tough being an old curmudgeon in punk, which feels like a young curmudgeon's world. Jon Langford knows this, having spent the past three and a half decades fusing Cash-style country with Clash-style blitzkrieg in bands like Mekons and the Waco Brothers. And he's never been more honest about it than he is here. Teaming up with fellow Waco Brothers Alan Doughty (bass) and Joe Camarillo (drums), as well as finger-picking phenom Jim Elkington (guitar) of rootsy Chicago rockers Horse's Ha, Langford examines the life of the middle-aged indie-dude, mercilessly and often hilariously, with one great self-deprecating line after another. "How you gonna plan for the future when your latest record flops?…Live for last year!" he jokes on the surf-garagey "1234ever." The acoustic ballad "Luxury," finds him poking fun at himself for never reaching American icon status: "The whole world hates a failure/ so Capetown and Australia/ look pretty good to me." There's even a cheery pop song called "Getting Used to Uselessness," which sounds like a spiritual guide for any aging scene vet. Ironically, with his muscular guitarwork and well-worn snarl, Langford sounds more energetic than ever, even while outlining his inevitable decline. At this rate, he'll be relevant for a long time. We await the inevitable sequel: Old Devils 2: Even Older.