Don Teel Curtis – Tornado Watch
Don Teel Curtis’s Tornado Watch is a fever-dream largely about death and grief and the relentless march of time, a patchwork of drunken recordings mostly made on a ranch in Texas’s tornado alley, after the loss of a loved one. Curtis’s insistence on leaving elements imperfect and spontaneous makes for an appropriately uncertain backdrop for the discomforting themes dealt with in the album.
The language in Tornado Watch is often as humorous as it is unsettling; surrealistic mini-narratives about new age hopelessness and hypocrisy and self-delusion. Some songs seem to joke around about the relativism of morality and cultural archetypes, such as in the song “Regular Man.”
“I don’t know what kind of man I am,
I’m just a regular man.”
Among a cast of gross charlatans and misbehavers rise questions about the desperation of faith, of believing in ghosts and of looking for solace in convoluted belief systems, as heard in “Spiritual Advisory on CH 3.”
“…like a pale ne’er-do-well drinking on a workday,
the naked shaman with an Anglo-Saxon name.
Don’t tell me, he just wants to drink your sweat,
so he can tell you, there’s something wrong with you…”
And Curtis’s offbeat shapeshifting vocals makes everything all the more intimately uncomfortable. Many of the vocal takes seem to be one-offs, done in some kind of pitiful stupor or sorrowful tantrum, pulled along in a polluted stream-0f-consciousness headed to God knows where. Hopefully toward some kind of catharsis, like in the slightly-necrophilic and mournful song “Brain Chemistry,” in which he finally belts out:
“Then I’m gonna eat you when you’re dead
like a buzzard on a highway with my head
bowed in your guts.
Then I’m gonna live my life in a godless rage
burning sage in a house in a new age
to chase your meaningless spirit away.”
In this song maybe we have heard the rueful crux of the whole album. Curtis seems to be issuing a warning, maybe that we should all be on the watch for bad weather and hunker down, because inevitably, if nothing else, we will all lose each other in someway or another to the fickle nature of the chemicals in our brains and the degradations of time. We are not as special as we imagine ourselves to be and our ephemeral identities are all governed by a fallible biology. Tornado Watch is a crackling, wry, and intimately troubling reminder of this, and it is obviously a record about someone going through some sad and confusing times.
1. Garden Of The Gods
2. Output Phantom
4. Regular Man
6. Pits Of Yonderland Bank
8. Spiritual Advisory on CH 3
9. Far Fall Calendar
10. Brain Chemistry
11. Word Of God
ALBUM COMES WITH WAV / 320 kbps MP3 DOWNLOAD CODE
AVAILABLE ON LP & DIGITAL