Justin Mikulka
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Cathode Bob: Envy the Numb
Cathode Bob: Threadbare
Leghound: Beggars And Choosers
Justin Mikulka: Consumer
Justin Mikulka: Sequels and Opposites , 6/10
Justin Mikulka: Move Toward The Exit , 6/10
Cathode Bob: Undone (2003), 6/10

Cathode Bob were formed in 1996 in New Jersey and debuted with the six-song cassette Amused (1997).

The album Envy the Numb (1998) is a collection of mostly reflective ballads Medicine Man, User, Pretty) with occasional bursts of garage-rock (Medicine Man, Temporary) and moments of utter originality (Seeker).

Threadbare (2000) increased the experimental elements (Zero Times Nothing, On My Way) and the intensity of the rave-ups (Star Tripping, Half Free), but, again, excelled at haunted litanies over dreamy textures like Girl Nervous, Debt, Wanting Blonde.

Singer and guitarist Justin Mikulka had also recorded as Leghound the album Beggars And Choosers (One Mad Son, 1996) and started his solo career with the lo-fi acoustic folk of Consumer (One Mad Son, 1998) and Sequels and Opposites (One Mad Son, 1999).

Mikulka's Move Toward The Exit (One Mad Son, 2001) marks a change of peace for the subdued singer songwriter. While it opens with the crazed, angular blues of Whores and Love that recalls Captain Beefheart, and closes with a ghostly voodoo spiritual like Bad Luck Lonely, the core of the album is in a depressed, abulic, mood that releases what can hardly be called ballads. The best are delivered in a brooding and shivering baritone reminiscent of a sleepy Bruce Springsteen (Slow Learner) and sometimes sound altogether lugubrious (Follower, Shadows And The Slide). Mikulka occasionally mixes the tender tones of Nirvana and the metaphysical pace of Neil Young (Kept, Fast Enough) and occasionally imitates the rollicking and tuneful art of Gordon Lightfoot (Repeating Lives and Echoes), but mostly it is his own, undefinable voice.

Cathode Bob's mini-album Undone (One Mad Son, 2003) refines the band's style with tighter and catchier songs. The poppy garage-rock of Caught You Smiling is not particularly original, but the massive distortion and epic melody of Suburbicide or the breezy chorus and jangling guitars Until You Get There are signs of a blossoming talent.

Justin Mikulka added more instruments to the scores of Sequels and Opposites (One Mad Son, 1999). Jones distorts the structure of the blues by adding a second off-key voice, by leaving the sound of rain in the background and by downplaying the guitar. High Horse Rider is a more orthodox blues, although shouted in a distorting device. Then, suddenly, Mikulka intones the Warren Zevon epos in Die Happy, although at a frantic, neurotic pace. That turns into a Bob Dylan rant in More Or Less, the lyrics repeated by another voice in spoken mode, and in You and I. Mrs Jones is a mad street chant, and Your X is a drunkard's nightmare in a cold night, and Mutiny sounds like a choral invocation at a tribal pow-wow. Mikulka's experimental ambitions yield Antisong and Learn to Love It, two glorious essays of folk music for mental asylums.

Mikulka released the anti-war concept album False Positive (2010) under the moniker False Positive.

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