Trashcan Sinatras for a Thursday night. I remember when I first heard their debut album Cake in 1990. The first thing that struck me was how fresh the lyric writing was. Yes, they were/are masters of the play-on-words, but there was an immediate engagement with the quality of the lyrics – quality of the songs themselves. In my mind, Trashcan Sinatras were never a passing fancy, or purveyors of “jangle pop” – there was sincere and calculated effort at turning each song into a work of art; a slice of life on life’s terms. You could call it “neo-realist Indie” because it was tactile and enveloping – and those are qualities that stay with you – and even some 28 years after the release of Cake, listening back to even their early material has always had that sense of wonderful immediacy to it.
So, cut to the band in 2017 – and even more recently, their latest One Night-Two Albums tour around the U.S. the past several months. Their popularity has only increased over the years – the die-hard fans from 1990 and the newly discovered fans of the last ten years. It’s all very gratifying and somewhat relieving, as it speaks volumes for the continued enjoyment and permanent freshness some music maintains.
To say Trashcan Sinatras are a household name would be stretching it – some say their lack of “huge hits” has contributed to the somewhat ill-fitting “criminally underrated” moniker. But you really wonder if a mainstream audience was ever ready, or ever will be ready, for this band – that they do sell out venues is a tribute to just how popular they continue to be – not arena popular, but long-term and committed popular – and that’s, in the final estimate, the best kind.
I would try and catch them, no matter where they turn up – this acoustic set is a reminder that Trashcan Sinatras are one of the truly best bands to come out of the 90s, and their music-making is nothing short of captivating.
In the meantime, have a listen to this acoustic gig from October 2017.