Sadly unheralded, mostly unsuccessful and largely forgotten also-rans of
Chicago's great alternative-era major-label feeding frenzy, Figdish (Myspace.com/figdish)
will always have a warm spot in my heart. Few groups have done the drunken,
chaotic, ramshackle but insanely infectious Midwestern garage-pop thing
better. In that band's wake, Blake Smith pursued more mannered glam-rock
sounds with Caviar, while co-founder Rick Ness, displaying uncharacteristic
hubris by naming his band Ness, has followed the connections from heroes
such as the Shoes, Cheap Trick and the Replacements to the dustier corners
in the British Invasion archives of the Who, the Kinks and the Pretty
Following "Up Late With People" (2004), Ness has topped that earlier
effort and arguably everything else he's done before with an incredibly
well-recorded, musically sophisticated and emotionally powerful
contemplation of the need to rock even as one ages ("My hearing's fading and
my eyesight is even worse/And I suppose that it's a blessing, even though
it's so perverse") on a sophomore album entitled "You Can't Afford to Feel"
and due to be self-released in June.
In typical Ness fashion, the band isn't together enough to stream its new
sounds or list any shows more recent than 2006 on its proper Web site (Nessmusic.com).
But its MySpace page (Myspace.com/nesstheband)
does offer samples of the older music that serve as an appetizer for the
sweet new tunes.