Two Dollar Guitar Weak Beats and Lame-Ass Rhymes

After 1998's incredible Train Songs, I hoped that Tim Foljahn had given up vocals on his Two Dollar Guitar project for good. Well, my hopes were not fulfilled, but Weak Beats and Lame-Ass Rhymes is certainly more cheery than their pathetic early drivel. A sort of compilation record, TDG's fourth full-length brings in all sorts of guest that help to boost the spirits of Foljahn. Spanish songstress Christina Rosenvinge turns up the heat on "Green Room" and adds sparks to "White Ape," a samba duet with Foljahn. Appearances are also made by Carla Bozulich and Nels Cline (Geraldine Fibbers), Tim Prudhomme (Fuck) and Doug Easley. Maybe the varied cast is what Foljahn needed to broaden the usually one-dimensional sounds of his past efforts, whose familiar sound comes back to haunt on the overbearingly long "Wilding." Two Dollar Guitar certainly works best when Foljahn is silenced, as on Train Songs, but Weak Beats shows that his vocals can have some decent moments, and his musical vision goes beyond tiresome painfully repetitive chording. The key is to bring friends along for the ride. (Smells Like)