True Grit

Winfred E. Eye's scruffy Americana mines the simple pleasures of life

Liking the results of the Glasses sessions, the group again tapped Goody as engineer. But this time, the destination was not a recording studio per se. Rather, the group chose to sequester itself at Pegasus Hall, a small playhouse in Monte Rio, about 15 minutes from Petaluma. "Getting away was important to me from the beginning," says Garmendia. "The most important thing was to get away from having to return phone calls and our day jobs and things like that."

Utilizing a variety of inexpensive equipment, Winfred recorded seven of the album's eight songs over the course of four days, with the LP's final track laid down back in Garmendia's studio.

"I think the intention was to match the Sea Legs recording as much as we could," says Goody. "There's something about that record, the way it was recorded in the basement with all the ancient gear, it just has this old-time record sound to it. But that vibe was still there for these recordings, and I think we captured a lot of that feeling."

Brian Krepshaw


Friday, Aug. 30, at 10 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door


Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F.

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While A Bottle, a Dog, Some Milk, a Bottlemay lack the artifactual feel that comes from older equipment, the record's sonic clarity makes up for it. An apt comparison might be that the first EP sounds like a dusty 78 playing on an old turntable, while the new LP captures the vibe of the band playing live in your living room.

The sound quality of the music isn't the only thing that has progressed; the songs are also Winfred E. Eye's strongest so far. Showcasing the musical collaborations of the entire group, the new arrangements are propulsive without being rushed, with full instrumentation that never feels dense. By filling out its sound while retaining a degree of sparseness, the band has produced a set of songs that is both atmospheric and engaging.

Lyrically, the album sticks to the kind of darkly poignant subject matter that Calvert specializes in. "Bury It!" and "Keep the Bed Warm" explore the process of moving on after failed relationships, or, in Calvert's words, "coping with coping." Meanwhile, "Riding the Rails," the result of a joint effort between Calvert and author Aaron Tassano, is a stream-of-consciousness account of travels in France: "Search for meaty words/ In matted fur and fancy pants/ Things that we're taught/ To hate and want in America."

The album's two most moving tracks -- "Don't Be Here Tonight" and "Monte Rio" -- deal with the concept of being an outsider. "Don't Be Here Tonight" was inspired by a note Calvert's landlord left for a squatter who had set up camp on his roof. Calvert effectively uses the plight of the drifter to touch on his own feelings of not belonging in Oakland. "Monte Rio" closes the album, utilizing the combination of Calvert's growl and Pierson's falsetto to tug at your heartstrings: "No one wants to hold you/ No one wants to touch you/ No one wants to live with you/ And it's starting to sink in."

"They're all just stories to be told," Calvert says of the songs that make up A Bottle, a Dog, Some Milk, a Bottle. "I think the best way to think of it is that there is a ship that has washed up ashore, and it's somewhat mysterious, full of the histories of the people who were on it."

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