…Dizzy with light, we dipped into that enormous book of holidays, its pages blazing with sunshine and scented with the sweet melting pulp of golden pears.
On those luminous mornings Adela returned from the market, like Pomona emerging from the flames of day, spilling from her basket the colorful beauty of the sun—the shiny pink cherries full of juice under their transparent skins, the mysterious black morellos that smelled so much better than they tasted; apriocots in whose golden pulp lay the core of long afternoons.
-Bruno Schulz, Street of Crocodiles
“The Street of Crocodiles in the Polish city of Drogobych is a street of memories and dreams where recollections of Bruno Schulz’s uncommon boyhood and of the eerie side of his merchant family’s life are evoked in a startling blend of the real and the fantastic. Most memorable - and most chilling - is the portrait of the author’s father, a maddened shopkeeper who imports rare birds’ eggs to hatch in his attic, who believes tailors’ dummies should be treated like people, and whose obsessive fear of cockroaches causes him to resemble one. Bruno Schulz, a Polish Jew killed by the Nazis in 1942, is considered by many to have been the leading Polish writer between the two world wars.” - Penguin Classic
2012 will see the release of Stephen Paul Smoker’s debut full-length album, Ripe Fruit which will drop from Kilo Records on March 20th. “Green City” is the first single from the album and it’s an incredible song — it’s dirty, sleek, sexy and anxious, and with it’s four on the floor disco stomp, kind of reminiscent of an Ace Frehley’s “Back in the New York Groove.”
Album Review: Stephen Paul Smoker's Ripe Fruit
Stephen Paul Smoker
Release Date: March 20, 2012
- In Cairo
- Green City
- I Dreamed I Was …
- I Gotta Try
- Cold As a Stone
- The Light on the First Day of Spring, Part 1
- The Light on the First Day of Spring, Part 2
- Man Dives Deep
Stephen Paul Smoker – vocals/ guitar
Bethany Smoker – vocals/keyboards
Jamie Dull – drums
Michael Kostal – guitar
Evan DePue – bass
Gerald Bailey – trumpet
Born and reared in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Stephen Paul Smoker began his musical career as a touring musician and hired gun for bands such as Mewithoutyou and the Mint. He later relocated to Chicago to play with his childhood friend Grace Kulp while continuing to tour with several other bands including the Lotto Ball Show.
As the story goes, he was inspired by the bright sunlight that streamed through the windows of his attic bedroom, located in the Pilsen section of Chicago, to write the material that became Violent Sun/Violent Fun, a no-frills take on psychedelic DIY indie pop. After the release of Violent Sun, Smoker formed his backing band Ripe Fruit to help him perform of his solo effort – but as they went into the studio in 2011, their efforts became increasingly collaborative. The end result was their debut effort as a band, Ripe Fruit.
As debut effort, Ripe Fruit seems heavily influenced by 1970s psychedelic-tinged glam rock – think of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, Marc Bolton/T-Rex, Pink Floyd and others. Ripe Fruit’s best and most memorable song, “Green City” with its scratchy guitars is a dirty, sleek, sexy and downright anxious song with a four on the floor disco stomp reminiscent of Ace Frehley’s “Back in the New York Groove.” It may very well be one of the best rock songs I’ve heard this year because it feels as though it captures an unspoken modern sensibility that we all quietly share – that palpable sense of impending dread, that something has gone indescribably wrong before our eyes. Unfortunately despite the great promise that the album initially shows, the middle three or four songs plod and drag on a lifelessly before the rest of the album peters out to it’s conclusion. And as pretty as the acoustic songs sound, they reveal some terrible, groan inducing lyrics. If only they could harness the anxious, frenetic energy of the album’s first three songs! The album is perhaps one of the most enervating and disappointing releases I’ve heard to date this year, and yet, if there was a list of singles of the year, “Green City” would be on that list.