The Hard Lessons | B&G Sides, Vol. 2 (Quack! Media)

cd_hard-lessons.jpgThe theme? Relationships gone south, with an intro, a G side and a B side. G side stands for Girl side, and B side? Boy side. Clever.







It was a bit of a happy accident, really. I had agreed to meet a friend at Blueberry Hill for the Euclid Records anniversary party, and arrived just in time to catch the Detroit band The Hard Lessons. They hit the stage like a rock ‘n’ roll hurricane and never relented. At one point, lead singer Agostino Visocchi leapt up and swung from the support, guitar dangling recklessly from his body. Ko Ko Louise manned the organ like The Archies’ Veronica in the ’80s-flashback flesh. Meanwhile, Christophe "The Anvil" Zajec-Denek held it all together with a relentless beat. I was blown away, seriously. So when I received their latest release to me to review, I couldn’t wait to hear it.

Regretfully, B&G Sides, Vol. 2 is only three tracks long. The theme? Relationships gone south, with an intro, a G side and a B side. G side stands for Girl side, and B side? Boy side. Clever.

"Just sit here with me now, listen for that sound, the sound of coming down," Cox croons over a swirl of vocal samples and organ on the first track. It’s only a minute and a half long, yet haunting.

Next, Cox is back on lead vocals with the poppy, organ-driven G-side tune "Everything Away." She implores an ex-boyfriend, "Don’t call me anymore, it doesn’t calm me down/ ’cause my heart starts to race and the part of my face where my smile used to be before you met me freezes up/ and I don’t know what to say. You’ve taken everything away."

The Hard Lessons save the best track for last. B-side single "I Like Your Hair Long" features Visocchi on lead vocals. "Don’t cut your hair before we say goodbye," he begins with melancholy. The song would tuck neatly into a date movie or TV drama, perhaps as the accompaniment to a tear-jerking montage detailing a broken relationship. Cox joins in for the chorus, "I like your hair long, sing you a love song/ Picnic on the shoreline, I’m yours and your mine/ All of that came true. Except there’s no more me and you."

Wow. Now I really regret cutting my hair. And reviewing this CD after a painful breakup. And wasting the last The Hard Lessons show at The Pageant feeling sorry for myself due to the impending painful breakup.

The Hard Lessons visit St. Louis fairly often, so make a point of seeing them. Their energy and enthusiasm are infectious. You will be a fan, I promise.

Oh, and one last tidbit. There will be four volumes of B&G Sides. According to the band’s website, the front and back covers fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Neat. A- | Rebecca Reardon

RIYL: The Von Bondies, The Cardigans, Brendan Benson

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