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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Album Thu Feb 04 2010

Album Review: Puerto Muerto-Drumming For Pistols


Local husband and wife duo Tim Kelley and Christa Meyer better known as Puerto Muerto have been making intoxicatingly dark cabaret inspired music for almost ten years. Their debut album Your Bloated Corpse Has Washed Ashore is considered a cult classic. They also toured in 2005 preforming live with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for which they made a supplemental soundtrack to the film. They are an interesting band that are a secret gem to those who have been lucky enough to find them.

The latest from the pair is their sixth full length release entitled Drumming For Pistols which is due out February 9th on Fire Records. This album very much like their past work is filled with themes of deep loss and regrettable sadness woven all the way through. Even though this band has beautiful arrangements in their music, their medium for expression is equal parts storytelling. Very much in the spirit of two of their influences Nick Cave and Nina Simone, every song has a different character, a new way of feeling lonely and a new twist in it.

Drumming For Pistols touches on the gritty realities of life and celebrates the darkness within. It changes pace and moods without reason or warning from one song to the next, not giving time for proper digestion, but not everyone will move at this speed. I developed an attachment to each song, story and lesson in most tracks. This album was challenging because I was still alive in one song while the next began. Listening was an exercise in being in the moment and learning to let go of what was heard to allow another in. The songs vary slightly in style, but are fulfilling in their own way. There is something within these thirteen songs that makes you want to grab hold of a one and keep it until you have mastered the meaning behind it. The album starts with "Song Of The Moon" a blues infused track that just makes me think everyone is getting ready for the party this album is.

The second song "Tamar" is my favorite interpretation of the biblical story.
Christa's voice roars in the softest way with bitterness and desperation while Tim's demeanor remains calm recognizing the tragedy. Other notable tracks are "The Bell Ringer", a ballad that brings images of long flowing gowns and candles in a song said to be inspired by Werner Herzog. Christa sings with a fragile, cracking sweet voice,"I remember how you sang to me about a life I never knew". This is possibly stating that we are not always aware of what we loose.

"Seven Souls" reminds us of the sometimes meaninglessness of life,while the title track has a way of poking you with tone begging you to sing with and sweeping you under its wave of perfectly balanced harmony. "Little Recourse" gives a more gruff, rock love/loss song. "Goodbye To The End" closes the album and I could feel my knees go weak with sadness. My arteries seemingly felt torn apart as my heart broke along the soft voice singing "We are craving a life undone".

As gorgeous and lush as this album is it is properly not the most uplifting choice to listen to during a Midwestern February, but if you prefer to live each mood in the moment and suck the most out of an emotion, then Drumming For Pistols is your cup of tea (or whiskey which would feel a little more appropriate to sip on while playing this on a cold, snowy night.)

Sometimes to appreciate the beauty in life, you have to be aware of how much pain there is in it. I believe that Puerto Muerto has shown us the awe of the sinking feelings that allow the joys to be much more meaningful.

You can experience the intense magic of Puerto Muerto on February 22 when they play a free record release party at the Empty Bottle The festivities start at 9:30.
The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western Ave. (773) 276-3600.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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