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Burning Kingdom
Drag City

More stonercore from the weird world of Bill Callahan, although this EP is definitely not a four-track home recording like his previous albums. He sings, “I’m not lonely anymore” on one song. He can’t be—he’s backed up by a band now: a drummer, violin player, and cello player, in addition to the singer/songwriter Cynthia Dall cowriting one tune, the soft “Renee Died 1:45.” The swirling “My Shell (Electric Version),” with a two-minute-plus anthemic intro, is as close to normal as Smog has ever gotten. Weirdness still abounds on Burning Kingdom. “My Family,” if describing Callahan’s own relatives, might give insight as to why he creates such fucked-up music. An attempt at soul was botched (of course) with the song “Drunk on the Stars.” “The Desert” is just plain scary. Anybody who thinks good music can only be made by serious “artists” spending a lifetime shelling out the big bucks perfecting their craft should listen to Smog. Either they’ll reel away in complete disgust, or listen in amazement.

Originally published in Ink Nineteen in December 1994.