Cars & Trains | Rusty String Deluxe
Most Likely To: reward patience and encourage emotionally fraught introspection.
Rusty String Deluxe earns its “deluxe” status, offering almost enough bonus material to double the length of the original release. Tom Filepp, Cars & Trains’ sole permanent member, has chosen to re-release his 2007 debut full-length Rusty String, plus he has added a few new songs from 2008’s Little Song EP, as well as a number of remixes and covers of the Rusty String material. The deluxe version clocks in at about 80 minutes. It’s gutsy to offer listeners (particularly first time fans) such a hefty dose of oneself, but the gamble pays off for Filepp.
As an adult, my musical raison d’être has been to unearth the next Lou Barlow, or specifically the next Folk Implosion. This search has lead me to enjoy criminally under-appreciated band such as Dave Einmo’s Head Like a Kite and Kent Lambert’s Roommate. Filepp picks up the lo-fi folktronica where Roommate’s Songs the Animals Taught Us left off, and sounds the call for introverts everywhere to return promptly to their rooms. Even though Filepp includes a large range of instruments, from the usual suspects like spoken word samples and programmed drumbeats to more unusual choices like glockenspiel and banjo, the songs never feel cluttered. As a result there is plenty of room for re-interpretation.
Timing is particularly important when listening to Cars & Trains because the music isn’t fit for listening just anywhere. (Operate heavy machinery with caution until you know how the record will affect you.) Ideally a listener would only experience the record while prone, and preferably under the half-light of covers, so you have the best chance to note the counterpoint between the songs and the pellets of freezing rain that strike the window. The songs tend to blend into one seamless piece of music, which is so much the better as a soundtrack for dozing on those gray and chilly winter days.
Listen to “Fake Plastic Guns (remix by Factor)” from Cars & Trains: