Great rock records are a phenomenon. Oh, a lot of good records feature similar ingredients: intelligent song writing, smoking guitars, whiskey-drawl vocals, thick blooded heartbeats from the bass and drums, and good ol’ fashion sing-along choruses about getting out of town on the next ship leavin’ port. But a great rock record has all those things plus a little hard-to-define magic. And I worked at a record store long enough (too long, maybe) to know that when you’re bewitched by a great record, it’s your obligation to proclaim it. So allow me to announce The Tisdales and their debut Baker’s Dozen. A new record has found its way into the coveted rotation.
The thirteen tracks on Baker’s Dozen were recorded at the Tisdales’ home studio (a small renovated church) in Sparta, best described as a ghost town located on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The songs “Faces” and “Isn’t It Good?” wind through the boarded up windows of Sparta’s vacant miner homes like REM’s Murmur did through rural Georgia. One can easily picture any last call at dive bars from Duluth to the Canadian border upon hearing and chug-a-lugging to the Neil Young-ish anthem “Like a Horse.” And “We’re the Ones” rightly justifies the satisfaction of surviving in the rock and roll underground as much as bands like X and the Replacements lived it.
Baker’s Dozen could have easily struck its bright chord in 1990, 1983, 1973, 1967… In some ways, the four flannel-clad quiet guys that make up The Tisdales might have felt more comfortable back in those great rock years when bands put their hearts and heads on the line as real tape rolled during recording sessions.
It’s almost 2009, and way too many groups record soulless, art school, flop-around tunes on whatever fancy computer download is featured in the back of TapeOp magazine. Well, damn it, here’s to The Tisdales and a timeless little piece of rock and roll magic, Baker’s Dozen.
---Mark Lindquist, Transistor Magazine Nov. 2008