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2014
| BS 218
$10.95

Undefeated

LIMITED EDITION LP contains digital download of the album temporarily SOLD OUT

BBJ’s first release since 2010 and what he calls his “break-up record.”

This isn’t escapism; it’s an emotional survival guide; it's ten songs of reality checks, clever wordplay, and daring arrangements, the aural companion to that buddy who pulls up a bar stool next to yours to help soak away your sorrows.

Full Description

Undefeated is BBJ’s first release since 2010 and what he calls his “break-up record,” but the whole of it is much more involved: this isn’t escapism; it’s an emotional survival guide. Undefeated is ten songs of reality checks, clever wordplay, and daring arrangements, the aural companion to that buddy who pulls up a bar stool next to yours to help soak away your sorrows.

Like a bespectacled, curly haired prizefighter whose opponent is on the ropes, Bobby goes at each release as if it might be his last round, focused, and full of energy and purpose. Undefeated is no different. The song list is a war chest of formidable uppercuts (e.g. distorted pop rock gems “North of Alabama By Mornin’” and “Don’t Stand At the Stove”), eye-splitting right jabs (open and orchestral “Don’t Wanna Know” and “The Elegant Imposter”), and sneaky left hooks (the crescendoing “As Forever Became Never Again”).

Undefeated is an album of distinct balance, but with raw and varied textures. “North of Alabama By Mornin’” leads with a murky, palm-muted electric guitar and striding, crunchy organ backbeat; a combination that is undeniably kinetic à la Humble Pie’s ‘70s boogie grooves and sinister and sexy, like a Southern doppelganger to Greg Dulli/The Twilight Singers. Bare Jr.’s ghostly high/low vocal layers echo the bleak picture of a metaphorical road trip, when his confidence slips, “Am I holding the steering wheel or is it holding me?/ The transmission is slipping like a pigeon through a tiger’s teeth.” By the song’s finale, though, jubilant yelps (“Oh! Ho! Ho! We’re goin’ home!”) and the electric guitar’s pinch-harmonic wailing, indicate that things are headed in the right direction.

What’s most striking about BBJ is his proficiency with a broad sonic palette that fluently conjures uncommon impressions of life’s soul-arresting experiences. “The Big Time” is rock ‘n’ roll reinterpreted through the lens of soulful pedaled bass, celebratory and punchy brass, and the facade of big-city talk (“You’re gonna miss me after I hit the big time/ Gonna get brand new famous friends.”). In “Blame Everybody (But Yourself)” the band – Young Criminals’ Starvation League – taps into a piano-inflected British invasion/Herman’s Hermits sort of vibe, blended with the melancholic echo chamber aesthetic of My Morning Jacket.

At other moments, Bobby channels his country DNA (like in the Hayes Carll co-penned “My Baby Took My Baby Away”), mirror-ball gazing ‘70s R&B/soul (“Undefeated”), and bright ballads from the hills and hollers of Venice Beach (“If She Cared”). From anyone else, this refusal to play it on the straight and narrow would sound cluttered and disjointed, but Bobby never breaks a sweat.

Short Description
Bobby Bare Jr Undefeated
  • A grab bag of tones and styles, spacey sounds, mariachi horns, twang, folk-punk, psyche-rock and distorted post-punk illuminates each song in its own right, bringing to mind influences as vast as Grandaddy and The Replacements.

    — New Noise Magazine
  • Undefeated finds the likable troubadour crafting a tantalizing hybrid of down-home and epic pop sounds, and reflecting on romance, betrayal and heartbreak in ambitious yet rough-hewn tracks. As always, the key is Bare’s ruefully eloquent voice, which finds a humorous undercurrent in the most woeful situations.

    — Mother Jones
  • Remains one of alt-country’s wittiest and most eclectic artists on his new breakup disc.

    — Winnipeg Sun
  • [BBJ] has achieved that rare accomplishment — attaining maturity and classiness while maintaining a rockin' edge... One reason why this diversity works magnificently is because Bare doesn't merely try on a style — he adapts an assortment of approaches and influences.

    — East Bay Express
  • What makes Bobby Bare Jr. so special, and what Undefeated captures, is his ability to cross all lines and maintain a cohesive sound that, most importantly, sounds like him and him alone. 9/10 stars

    — Glide Magazine
  • Bobby Bare Jr. = My Morning Jacket + Big Star

    — Slug Magazine
  • Bare utilizes a cast of ringers to construct a lush, diverse record that's just a touch too all-over-the-map to reduce to the typical brands of "Americana" or "alt-country" or "roots."

    — Nashville Scene
  • An atmospheric collection of nearly uncategorizable tunes ranging from fuzz pop to stripped down bluesy rock, rag time, honky tonk, and hard core, his gravelly talk sing voice and wacky lyrics the thread that binds them all together.

    — Innocent Words
  • The album is a return to the Bobby Bare Jr. we know and love.  Undefeated offers up a selection of ten very different tunes that all share in common Bobby’s distinctive twangy rasp and a core root of hook-driven rock with pop sensibilities.

    — No Depression
  • The lead single draws a straight line from Lynyrd Skynyrd's Southern rock bombast to the decadence of L.A. hair metal.

    — SPIN
  • “The Big Time” is a see-you-later song delivered with broken-hearted confidence and a bank of driving pianos, guitars, and horns that suggest both Stax-era Memphis soul and the Beatles circa 1967.

    — Garden & Gun
  • The 10 rootsy Americana-style rock songs are at once poignant and shot through with mordant wit

    — Wall Street Journal

Track List

  1. North of Alabama By Mornin'
  2. If She Cared
  3. The Big Time
  4. Don't Wanna Know
  5. The Elegant Imposter
  6. Undefeated
  7. My Baby Took My Baby Away
  8. Blame Everybody (But Yourself)
  9. As Forever Became Never Again
  10. Don't Stand At The Stove

Listen

On Tour

Sep
23
2015

@ Double Door
Chicago, IL

Feb
07
2016

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