Two Dollar Guitar is a trio of Tim Foljhan, singer, songwriter and guitarist,
Sonic Youth's drummer Steve Shelley
Das Damen's bassist Dave Motamed.
Foljhan started out in Mosquito, a trio with Jad Fair of
Half Japanese and Shelley.
Two Dollar Guitar's debut single,
Lost Bird/ Broken Wing (Smells Like, 1994), was published the following
year, but it fits better with Palace Brothers' acoustic
Let Me Bring You Down (Smells Like, 1996) is the album of a
nihilistic storyteller in the tradition of Neil Young and Nick Cave,
capable of the blasphemous Biblical vision of Pussy Rides Dick as
well as of the tragically domestic Blood On The Plow as well as of
the Warren Zevon-ian epic Well Song.
Foljhan "owns" the music and the lyrics in such a personal manner that
Two Dollar Guitar's records can be called "solo" works.
Foljhan's whining is out of control on
Burned And Buried (Smells Like, 1997), a disappointing follow-up that
Happy Guitar is not enough to rescue.
Foljhan's solo Hotel Opera (Smells Like, 1998) is no less gloomy and
Thankfully, Train Songs (Smells Like, 1998) is an all-instrumental album,
a deeply disturbing homage to America's heartland that better expresses his
bleak and stark vision.
Each song is a brief vignette that interprets daily life in America.
Where Leo Kottke celebrates the joy of those daily rituals, though,
Foljhan mourns the grief that lies behind the curtain.
Weak Beats And Lame-Ass Rhymes (Smells Like, 2000)
coasts towards a less apocalyptic form of country-rock
(Everybody's In A Band).
The more spartan The Wear And Tear Affair (2006), almost entirely played
by Foljhan on vocals, guitars and keyboards, found a better avenue for the
songwriter's existential depression, culminating with the psychological self-analysis of the lengthy Wide Load.
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