Telephone Numbers, The
The Ballad of DougMeritorio
***"There’s always good music in San Francisco, you just never hear about it till someone somewhere else finally pays attention. The Telephone Numbers and contemporaries live in the tiny spaces between row houses in the outer districts of San Francisco. You can hear them earnestly strumming through cheap practice amps choked with probably too much reverb and trying to craft ambitious sounds with no career ambitions and few resources. These bands were rarely invited to play the bigger venues in their own hometown when it mattered. They had their own intimate shows wherever they could beg for space, and that’s maybe more fun. Thomas Rubenstein is 100% from this subculture of record geeks and renters, haunting bedrooms studios and fog-damp garage practice spaces. He writes tragic love songs that pull from classic power-pop and 80s/90s indie. He does in fact have a Teenage Fanclub tattoo and is rarely not listening to Prefab Sprout or some other over-the-top heartbreaking pop on the way to earn his hourly wage. He recruited a whole host of pals to help him make The Ballad of Doug, which may or may not be a concept album about the rise and fall of the Gin Blossoms. The touches of violin, layers of guitar and soaring backing vocals make this seem bigger than just a DIY record, and it is. These tunes are worthy of some historic festival slot or hit parade appearance, but for now you can dream with the vinyl on your deck or the bandcamp blasting in your phone."—Glenn Donaldson. Second pressing on red vinyl.