THE CONTENT PROVIDERS on FREEDOM FRIED were:
J Neo Marvin: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, songs
Davis Jones: Keyboards, percussion, vocals
Alan Korn: Bass and tambourine
Aaron Sears: Lead guitar and vocals
Deirdre Fogarty: Vocals
Les Harris: Drums, flute and vocals
Cynthia Wigginton: Violin, musical saw and vocals
Nik Phelps: Oboe, clarinet, French horn, trumpet and sax
Glenn Stevens: Lead guitar and vocals
Adam McCauley: Drums
Franco Reguzzoni: Keyboards
Jeremy Hanberry: Dumbek and vocals
Pam Davis: Piano and vocals
Diane Wallis: Violin and vocals
James Oterreau: Drums and flugel horn
Alex James Muscat: Engineer, cabasa
Wally Sound: Engineer, guitar, lap steel and percussion
FREEDOM FRIED, the third release from J Neo Marvin & the Content Providers, arrives in July. 12 songs for the "new American century", featuring the most cohesive and rocking Content Providers lineup yet, Freedom Fried ranges from melodic folk-pop to snarly garage-rock and beyond, all adding up to an unflinching portrait of the state of the union, circa summer 2004. It's music for Americans who have found their home transformed into an occupied country, for foreigners who no longer recognize the once-admired, now scarier than ever, land of rock and roll, blue jeans and silly pop culture, and for any and all human beings who refuse to be stomped into submission. J Neo Marvin, former singer/songwriter of the 90s indie-rock band X-tal, has since released two CDs, Slowly I Turned and What Is Truth?, employing a diverse collection of collaborators from bands including the Mekons, Ed's Redeeming Qualities, the Bedlam Rovers, She Mob, and The Club Foot Orchestra, who all added their own touches to his sharp-focused songs of life and trouble.
The new CD reflects the Content Providers' progress over the last year as they moved from a loose-knit recording project to a regularly gigging live band, while the lyrics have shifted focus from the introspective brooding of the previous two records to a greater emphasis on trenchant social commentary and challenging political statements. Now more than ever it's time for artists to speak out.
The songs here include the self-explanatory "Little Emperor"; the richly harmonized statement of independent thought "Run Crab Run"; the snide-yet-mournful "You Of All People", which portrays a family torn apart by bitter political differences; "A Spy In The House Of Style", a bouncy dance number about alienation among the in-crowd; "Twin Human Highway Flares", a sumptuous reimagining of the most romantic Mountain Goats song ever; "Pills", a fast pop-punk number about drugs like Prozac and Paxil that winks ironically at the Bo Diddley/New York Dolls song of the same name; two very timely X-tal remakes, "The Hypnotist" and the Fairport-esque "Windbags"; and a juxtapositioning of the Chic-via-Robert Wyatt classic "At Last I Am Free" with the very pertinent essay "On Nationalism" by J. Krishnamurti that previously appeared on REBUILDING THE BRIDGE, a tribute to the 1980 Rough Trade sampler WANNA BUY A BRIDGE? put out by the Dark Beloved Cloud label and the Typical Girls mailing list.
"When we last caught up with San Francisco's Marvin on his sophomore WHAT IS TRUTH?, the ex-Puncture writer and X-tal leader did two New York covers (Mink DeVille and Yoko Ono) in solidarity over 9/11. Now, along with so many here and abroad, his thoughts have turned from commonality to disgust for the Administration's squandering of it, and the erosion of rights and fear that pervades instead. His oddball neo-folk remains an amalgam of Neil Young Americana, Fairport Convention, Mountain Goats (covered here), Flying Nun records, and quirky Frank Zappa, though he also stomps out a buzzing post-punk smasher about anti-depressants called "Pills"---playing off Bo Diddley rather than covering him. But it's Marvin's lyrics that again make him valuable. Referencing "Mutiny On The Bounty" and essayist J. Krishnamurti, he again expresses indignation for Bush II's propagation that dissent for suppressive policy is unpatriotic in wartime. Call him a weapon of mass small-mindedness destruction."
-Jack Rabid, THE BIG TAKEOVER #55