Review: Micah Schnabel – When The Stage Lights Go Dim

Micah Schnabel: When The Stage Lights Go Dim (Suburban Home Records, 2010)

Micah Schnabel self-released his debut solo album When The Stage Lights Go Dim last year and the people who heard it, fell in love with it. Folks at the Suburban Home Records’ Headquarters were some of the lucky ones who heard it and they wanted to re-release the album. Thankfully Micah Schnabel gave them the permission and now this wonderful album is out and available to wider audiences.

I admit that it wasn’t an instant love affair with me and Micah. My first introduction probably happened when I saw American Static video by TCSupergenius (you’ll find it below). I liked the chorus and loved the verse, so I seeked more samples. Usual suspects and Suburban Home website gave me them and even though I liked everything I heard, some part of me was still trying to reject it. Maybe it just felt a little too bare and raw for my pop-soaked heart. Eventually I found myself always going back to watch that video or listen to the mp3s I had found from the usual places and I had to give in and release a statement to myself that said “this Micah guy is just brilliant and you are a damn fool if you keep on ignoring that. Go and preorder the album right now”. Therefore I did do that and even though the physical copy of the record hasn’t yet arrived (the album was released only a couple of days ago), I’ve already been spending a huge amount of time with Micah and the free digital dowload of the album that came with the preorder.

When The Stage Lights Go Dim is a brilliant album. Stylewise it might not be my closest companion, but there’s something here that really grabs ones attention. This just feels so real and alive that you keep on thinking that Micah must be the hardcore troubadour that Steve E. was talking about. Blend together some country, punk, folk rock and 80’s US indie rock in a whiskey bottle, strip it down to its bare bones and deliver it with all the passion, anxiety and beauty you can come up with and you might get somewhere close to Micah Schnabel. The album is filled with gorgeous songs like Stage Lights, Cut Me Mick and American Static. The only song I could do without is The Replacements cover I Can’t Hardly Wait, but maybe that’s already saying something. The least interesting song on the album is written by no other than Paul Westerberg (ok, it also has something to do with the fact I always prefer originals more than cover versions).


Listen to Cut Me, Mick below:

Watch American Static:

Micah Schnabel at myspace

Oh.. and don’t forget Micah Schnabel’s band Two Cow Garage. So far I only have their latest album Speaking in Cursive. Highly recommended stuff altogether. I think the overall sound on the album could have been a little better. It sounds a bit dark at least for a pop fan, but songs like Brass Ring, Folksinger’s Hearts, Skinny-Legged Girl, Bastards and Bridesmaids are absolutely stunning. I need to get the other albums as well. I already ordered one of them and it should be in the same packet with the solo debut.

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