Busch had experienced a musical awakening at hearing Elvis Costello; thinking he was the only one (as Costello fans seem to do), Busch was surprised to hear Kufs was also a fan. That and a shared love of folk music forged a bond between the two and a relentlessly prolific collaboration that continues to this day. Their tunes were funny and sad in equal doses—consummately existential, smart but not pretentiously literate. They began playing coffeehouses, “hitting every open mic night in the Tri-State area” originally, cultivating a following among the venues’ folk-friendly denizens. These morphed into regular gigs at the same places, weekends at larger clubs in New York City, and eventual opening dates with friends and benefactors They Might Be Giants.
During that time, they released a quickie album (titled Common Rotation, but credited to “28 Orange Street”). It did well for them, but Busch says it was when he and Kufs moved to California—and donned the Common Rotation as a moniker (partly due to their revolving-door rhythm section) that they began work on the album they’d both envisioned: The Big Fear. They rented a big house and set about writing and recording three albums’ worth of material, from which ten tracks were chosen (Note: the rest weren’t to languish; the band has a full-disclosure policy, making new rehearsals, demos and live takes available on CommonRotation.com every two days and sprinkling them throughout their constantly changing set list). The environment, Busch says, was especially conducive to creativity, and resulted in the album they’ve both envisioned since their salad days, a marriage of pop sensibilities and the communal, inclusive aura of folk. “There is a major difference in the maturity of the production,” says Busch. “The first album was recorded in one ten-hour day.
The songs on The Big Fear are much more polished in the band’s performance of them and were closely examined in terms of their arrangements.” “Indie Rockin’,” an unrighteous raspberry at elitist hipsters, commences the record thusly, melding an infectious chorus to a troubadour-ish admonition to not take oneself so serious—music is supposed to be fun—and protest (the hipster protagonist admits his “indie rockin’” ethos is a “feeling that I stole”). Henceforth, Common Rotation (Kufs and Busch are joined by drummer Prof. Ken Beck and bassist Mike Uhler, two of several musicians that comprise Common Rotation’s sundry live incarnations) have fun throughout an album that ponders weighty questions and situations (the airy, jazzy “Savior,” acoustic pop gems “Post Modern,” “All My Time”) and inhales life (the jubilant “Sit Down,” a quirk-lite interpretation of They Might Be Giants’ “Don’t Let’s Start,” the summer vibe-y “Prime Time”). The effect is such that one is at once liberated and somewhat blissfully burdened with new questions.
Kufs: “The point of writing songs, for us, has always been to release feelings we have at different moments in our lives so we can understand them better. Whether the subject of a song is a relationship with another person or a relationship with society, human nature, a God, etcetera, we feel the need to express our feelings about it without preaching to a listener.” At the same time, Common Rotation seeks to exist, if only in brief bursts, on the same plane as the listener. Their name intimates as much; we’re all on the same planet, spinning on the same axis. Everybody, everywhere is trying to get through the same crappy day en route to the inevitable dirtnap denouement; we don’t have to dance to the same song, but sometimes doing exactly that is enough to get you through the day. “We don't know any more than our audience does,” Busch says, “and if we can give them something catchy to sing along with that doesn't invoke any thought by any means other than sincerity, then we have succeeded.” Taken from www.commonrotation.com Read more on Last.fm.
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